Charleston shooter Dylann Roof sentenced to death
Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who murdered nine African-Americans inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina has been sentenced to death. The jury made up of nine whites and three blacks, found Roof guilty of 33 counts last month.
Roof, confessed to the killings and justified them in a manifesto he wrote in prison. Roof showed no remorse as the verdict was read and will receive his sentence on Wednesday. Before the fateful attack, Roof made multiple trips to scout the church.
Roof eventually came back on June 17, 2015 and opened fire killing nine churchgoers including Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, who was the youngest African-American elected to South Carolina’s legislature.
Roof told police that he was willing to take his own life, if police arrived at the scene.Rev. Pickney’s wife, who was hiding under a desk, alerted police to the shooting. During his trial, Dylann Roof declined to testify or present any evidence.
Prosecutors painted Mr. Roof as a racist ideologue, who was radicalized on the internet and had plotted this assault over more than six months, waiting until he was old enough to buy a gun. Jury was in deliberations for only three hours before deciding to hand down a sentence of death.
Last month Roof was convicted of federal murder and hate crime charges. Roof did not question witnesses, but filed several motions objecting that their testimony had been too emotional. Roof denied having any mental health problems.
Only three federal inmates have been executed since the death penalty was reinstated in 1988, and that includes: Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, drug dealer Juan Raul Garza, and Louis Jones, who kidnapped and murdered 19-year-old Army Pvt. Tracie McBride.
Prosecutors called more than two dozen friends and relatives of the victims to testify during the sentencing phase of the trial. After not saying much during the trial, Dylann Roof asked for a lawyer to help him file a motion for a new trial.
The federal government has put executions on hold out of concerns about lethal injection drugs, and appeals could put off the date even further. Roof is now currently waiting for a second trial, by the state of South Carolina.
Sen Tim Scott of South Carolina said the jury had made the right decision, and that it would mark “a pivotal moment” in the victims’ families’ “road toward some sort of closure.”
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