Dylann Roof pleaded guilty to state charges, which included murder and attempted murder, for the 2015 massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson sentenced Roof to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

This deal “means no state trial or sentencing phase will be necessary.” A federal jury sentenced Roof to death in January.

In June 2015, 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.

When interrogated, Roof told investigators “that he committed the crime because ‘black people are killing white people every day.'” He told the federal jury that “I felt like I had to do it, and I still feel like I had to do it.”

It took that jury less than three hours to reach their verdict.

Fox News reported:

Roof, 23, is set to be moved to a federal prison in another state, where he will ultimately be put to death on charges of hate crimes and obstruction of the practice of religion in connection with the June 2015 shooting. The deal with prosecutors came in exchange for a sentence of life in prison on state charges.

Roof was found guilty late last year of 33 federal charges and sentenced to death during a separate proceeding earlier this year. Relatives of each of the nine people killed attended court each day of his federal trial, some testifying with emotion about the voids created by the losses of their loved ones.

Prosecutor Scarlett Wilson explained that this deal serves “as an ‘insurance policy’ in case the federal conviction and sentencing hit a snag on appeal.” From CNN:

“A guilty plea in state court means that if something very, very, very unlikely were to happen at the federal level, the state sentence would take effect and he would serve life in prison. (And no more trials!),” Scarlett A. Wilson, solicitor for the state’s 9th Judicial Circuit, wrote to victims’ families last week.

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