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Jury Sentences Dylann Roof to Death for Charleston Church Massacre

Jury Sentences Dylann Roof to Death for Charleston Church Massacre

“I didn’t have to do anything. But what I meant when I said that was I felt like I had to do that. And I still feel like I had to do it.”

Dylann Roof received the death penalty from a federal jury for murdering nine black people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, in June 2015. It took the jury less than three hours to reach their verdict. Judge Richard Gergel will impose the sentence of Roof at 9:30AM on Wednesday.

The jury recommended the death penalty on all 18 counts Roof faced that carried the sentence.

Roof opened fire on the members of the church after they welcomed him into their circle with open arms and allowed him to sit next to the pastor. He hoped his crime would spark a race war.

Roof represented himself during the sentencing phase. He took the podium after Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson delivered his two-hour closing statements. Roof told the jury “that he wasn’t lying when he told FBI agents that he doesn’t hate black people.” Instead, he said “that he doesn’t like what black people do.” He continued:

“I think it’s safe to say that someone in their right mind wouldn’t go into a church and kill people,” he said. “You might remember in my confession to the FBI, I told them I had to do it. Obviously, that isn’t true because I didn’t have to do it. I didn’t have to do anything. But what I meant when I said that was I felt like I had to do that. And I still feel like I had to do it.”

Loved ones of the nine people Roof killed crammed every seat in one side of the courtroom and listened with quiet but intense focus as he spoke. None of Roof’s family members attended.

Roof went on to say that he is misunderstood but he didn’t attempt to explain himself further, offering only that “the prosecution and anyone else who hates me are the ones who have been misled.” He said people hate for a reason. Sometimes that means they have been misled, other times not.

“Wouldn’t it be fair to say that the prosecution hates me since they are the ones trying to give me the death penalty?” he asked. “You could say, ‘Of course they hate you. Everyone hates you. They have good reason to hate you.’ I’m not denying that. My point is that anyone who hates anything, in their mind, has a good reason.”

Roof said he had been told that he had the right to ask the jury for a life sentence “but I’m not sure what good that will do anyway.” He also reminded them that during jury selection each had pledged to stand up and object to a death sentence if they felt that was necessary. He stopped short of asking them to do that, though.

It only took five minutes for him to read his remarks.

Jury selection began in November, but Gergel paused the process to see if a psychiatrist would find Roof competent to stand trial. Once he received the doctor’s approval, the selection moved on, but drama continued.

Gergel granted Roof’s request to represent himself during the trial. But then Roof changed his mind and asked for his lawyers back during the guilt phase, but allow him to still represent himself during the sentencing phase. Gergel warned Roof he could not change his mind. That meant during the sentencing phase, Roof had “control over what evidence is presented on his behalf when the time comes for the defense to try to sway jurors to give him life in prison.”

He faced 33 charges:

Roof faces 33 federal charges: nine counts of violating the Hate Crime Act resulting in death; three counts of violating the Hate Crime Act involving an attempt to kill; nine counts of obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death; three counts of obstruction of exercise of religion involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon; nine counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence.

Roof also faces nine counts of murder and other charges in the state court system.

He tried to plead guilty “in exchange for a life sentence, but prosecutors refused the deal.” He could receive the death penalty if found guilty.


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Like we say down here, “The boy ain’t raht.”

The Friendly Grizzly | January 10, 2017 at 7:49 pm

And now, 30 years of appeals, Hollywood types coming to his defense, etc.

No Hollywood endorsements for this guy. As was the case with Tim McVeigh, this becomes a politically correct execution. If, as and when the state gets around to dispatching this scumbag, there might be a few Quakers standing vigil outside the prison but that’s it.

I’m OK with that sentence. Do it

Dylann Roof is a human life that deserves to be Planned.

Henry Hawkins | January 10, 2017 at 9:25 pm

While any prison’s death row is isolated from the general population, and DR inmates are isolated from one another, there are many times when a DR inmate has to be moved at least through a gen-pop area, whether to a medical unit, psych unit, or moved because the lights or plumbing on DR needs work, or taken out to court for appeals, hearings, etc., etc. Sooner or later, he’ll be exposed to the gen-pop.

So, you’ve got this young white boy on death row who killed all those innocent black people. He’ll be the primary target of every lifer and/or longtermer in that prison. The inmate that gets to and kills Roof will score major power points for himself within the prison ‘society’. They will try to bribe guards to leave Roof exposed. It has happened many times that several inmates will physically jump guards just to allow one inmate to try and kill the one they were escorting.

Sooner or later, someone will get to Roof and beat or shank him to death as happened to Jeffrey Dahmer, who, after a year in protective solitary, requested to be moved into the general population, where a lifer inmate beat him to death with an iron bar.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if he refuses appeals and expedites his execution.

Can someone tell me why Roof was tried first on federal “hate crime” charges rather than on the state murder charges? I don’t, in general, support “hate crimes” laws and I think that he should be executed for what he did — killing nine innocent people in cold blood.

Was there a procedural reason for this trial rather than a state trial? Does SC lack the death penalty?

    gourdhead in reply to tarheelkate. | January 11, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    You are on the right track. I believe that the underlying reason for labeling any crime a “hate crime” is to remove it from the framework of rigid law in order to allow emotions to be used more effectively, a liberal ploy to obscure the facts. Unfortunately, conservatives are being drawn into this deceitful web. We have now reached the point that punishment for crimes is arbitrary and is dependent on the mindset of the judge, jury, and the degree of outrage of public opinion. Guilty parties can receive from life in prison to probation for the same crime, especially for rape and molestation, depending on the judge and/or jury. The law is intended to be cold so that stupid intervention is not allowed. That is no longer true.

Fry in Hell buddy!

I do wonder what the chances are that he will appeal.
IANAL, so I don’t even know how this typically goes.
He clearly did it, and admitted as much, so it’s not like he’s gonna get to far appealing the guilty verdict.
I would assume, but really have no idea, that he could appeal the death sentence and go for something less, like life in prison, etc.
It’s not clear that he’d even want to do that.
Anyone have an opinion?