Richard Baumhammers, Pennsylvania


Update: Tuesday, December 2, 2014 11:14 am EST

Richard Scott Baumhammers was scheduled to be executed at 7 pm EST, on Wednesday, December 3, 2014, at the State Correctional Institute Rockview, in Rockview, Pennsylvania. His execution has beens stayed. Forty-nine-year-old Richard is convicted of murdering 63-year-old Anita “Nicki” Gordon, 27-year-old Theo Pham, 34-year-old Ji-ye Sun, 31-year-old Anil Thakur, and 22-year-old Garry Lee on April 28, 2000, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Richard has spent the last 13 years on Pennsylvania’s death row.

This is Richard’s second execution date. He was previously scheduled to be executed in 2010, but received a stay of execution by Allegheny Court of Common Pleas. The day after receiving his new execution date, the US District Court for the Western District stayed Richard’s execution to allow time for Richard to pursue federal appeals.

Richard was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to parents who were immigrants from Latvia and became successful dentists and professors. Richard succeeded academically throughout high school and college, after which Richard graduated from law school. He worked for several years in Georgia in international law. In the late 1990s, Richard moved to Latvia and became a citizen. He also traveled through Europe and was arrested in Paris, France for striking a bartender because he “believed she was Jewish.” By 1999, Richard had returned to Pittsburgh. During his life, he had entered psychiatric hospitals at least twice voluntarily, and several times involuntarily. He first sought treatment for mental illness in 1993.

On April 27, 1999, Richard Baumhammers obtained a .357 Magnum revolver. The following day, around 1:30 pm on April 28, Baumhammers walked to the home of Nicki Gordon, his neighbor and longtime family friend. Baumhammers shot her and set her house on fire. Nicki, who was Jewish, did not survive.


Baumhammers then drove his vehicle to Nicki’s synagogue, Beth El Congregation, and fired shots through the windows into the building. He also exited his vehicle and used spray paint to paint two red swastikas on the building.


Baumhammers drove a short distance from the synagogue to the India Grocer. He shot and killed Anil Thakur, who was picking up groceries during his lunch hour. Baumhammers also shot store manager Sandeep Patel. Anil did not survives injuries. Sandeep was paralyzed and wheel chair bound for the rest of his life. Baumhammers was observed calmly leaving the parking lot after the murders.


Baumhammers then drove to Ahavath Achim Congregation, another synagogue, where he shot out the windows, before driving on a Chinese restaurant. Ji-ye Sun, the restaurant manager was shot in front of customers, along with Theo Pham, a Vietnamese-American cook. Neither survived their injuries.


Baumhammers next drove to a Karate school and shot Garry Lee, and African American who was exercising with a European-American friend. Garry was killed instantly.


Around 3:30 pm, Baumhammers was pulled over by police. He was arrested and ultimately charged with 19 crimes, including five criminal homicides. Baumhammers was found guilty and given death for each murder, plus 112 years for other crimes.


Please pray for peace and healing for the families of Nicki Gordon, Theo Pham, Ji-ye Sun, Anil Thakur, and Garry Lee. Please pray for healing for all those that were injured during the attack. Please pray for strength for the family of Richard Baumhammers. Pleas pray that Richard may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.



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