Robert Bowers, the man accused of murdering 11 people in a hate-fueled massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue, entered a plea of not guilty in a federal courtroom on Thursday.
Authorities believed the suspect entered the synagogue last Saturday, murdered the worshippers and was leaving when he encountered a uniformed police officer. The pair exchanged gunfire and Bowers reentered the building before a SWAT team arrived. After a shootout, he surrendered.
In the courtroom this week, Bowers showed little sign of the injuries he sustained from the shootout.
I’m not a lawyer, and so I don’t understand the intricacies of how our court system works. But I can read and I watch the news, and I doubt if there is anyone in this country who is familiar with this case feels that Bowers is not guilty.
So it seems to defy logic that he would enter a plea of not guilty. And it also seems to discredit our legal system when such behavior is permitted.
It seems a non-guilty plea will make the case drag on, costing taxpayers a significant amount of money as a result of the trial.
I don’t have a solution since I don’t know the legal implications associated with simply entering a guilty plea right from the start. I also wonder if it is possible to not allow a not guilty plea when there is incontrovertible evidence of the guilt of the defendant.
I am familiar with the idea of innocent until proven guilty, but if someone like Bowers can plead not guilty, then why even have such a hearing. Just assume everyone is going to plead not guilty, and just start working on a trial.