Unabomber, Boston Marathon bomber attorney to represent Tree of Life shooting defendant
A prominent San Diego attorney who has represented such high-profile defendants as the Boston Marathon bomber and the Unabomber has been named to help lead the defense team for the man accused of fatally shooting 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill.
Judy Clarke, of the legal firm of Clarke Johnston Thorp & Rice, was assigned as a lead attorney for accused gunman Robert Bowers on Dec. 27 by U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose in Pittsburgh.
Bowers has pleaded not guilty to 44 federal charges, including nearly two dozen that carry a possible death sentence, in the Oct. 27 mass shooting that claimed victims from three congregations including Tree of Life, New Light and Dor Hadash.
A grand jury alleged in its indictment that Bowers, of Baldwin, went to the Tree of Life in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood during Saturday morning services for the three congregations and opened fire with an AR-15 and three handguns.
In addition to those killed, six others were injured — among them four police officers who exchanged fire with Bowers during multiple gun battles. Bowers was shot and injured and was treated at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Clarke couldn’t be reached for comment late Wednesday.
She has represented a number of high-profile murder defendants who have avoided the death penalty — including Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph and Jared Loughner, who killed six people and wounded 13 others, including former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in a mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted and sentenced to death in the Boston Marathon bombing, but his case is under appeal.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @jhimler_news.