Charleston church shooter to face death sentence
The same jury that convicted Dylann Roof in the 2015 massacre at Emanuel AME church reached a unanimous verdict on his sentence: demise. Roof appeared down silently as the members of the commission announced its decision in U.S. District Court in Charleston, S.C. late Tuesday afternoon.
After the jury left the courtroom, Roof asked Judge Richard Gergel for new lawyers. Gergel told Roof he could make that debate at his formal sentencing hearing Wednesday morning.
Insisting on representing himself in the sentencing phase of his trial, Roofs court-appointed defense team, which included renowned lawyer and capital punishment adversary David Bruck, was largely sidelined.
“We want to express our empathy to all of the families who were so grievously hurt by Dylann Roof’s actions, ” Roof’s defense said in a statement. “Today’s sentencing decision means that this case will not be over for a very long time. We are sorry that, despite our best efforts, the legal proceedings have shed so few light on the reasons for this tragedy.”
Roof’s family said in a statement they will “continue to pray for the Emanuel AME households and the Charleston community.”
“We will struggle as long as we live to understand why he committed this terrible assault, which caused so much pain to so many good people, ” the statement read. “We wish to express the sorrow we feel for the victims of his crimes, and our sympathy to the many households he has hurt.”
Earlier in the working day, Roof delivered his own closing debate, in which the white supremacist denied that he was filled with hatred.
Wouldnt it be fair to say that the prosecution detests me because theyre trying to give me the death penalty? Roof asked rhetorically. Anyone who hates anything, in their mind has a good reason for it. And sometimes thats because theyve been misled and sometimes it isnt. But I would say that in this case the prosecution, along with anyone else who hates me, are the ones who have been misled.
Roof concluded his closing debate after merely five minutes.
Thats all, he said.
The brevity of Roofs statement stood in stark contrast to the prosecutions shutting debate, which lasted for two hours.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson reminded jurors how the nine victims at Mother Emanuel Church had welcomed Roof, a stranger who had shown up at their Wednesday evening Bible study.
The defendant had come not to learn , not to receive the Word, but he came with a hateful heart and a Glock 45, Richardson said.
Richardson mentioned all of child victims by name, describing their significance to the community and their families, and the terrible loss caused by their untimely demises. He contrasted these particularly good people with the horrific nature of Roofs crimes, his racist views and his faith in Hitler as a saint, as an icon, as someone to be emulated.
The prosecution demonstrated the jury photos of Roof with his now familiar blank stare, pointing a pistol at the camera during target practice.
He also chose to videotape himself doing it so that he could see the very last images that these victims would insure, Richardson said. He wanted to see what he would look like as he stood over them.
Inside the courtroom, Roof appeared straight forward, displaying no obvious feeling as the prosecution demonstrated the jury graphic photos of the deceased victims bodies lying on the bloodstained floor of their church meeting room.
Richardson then went on to cite Roofs apparent lack of remorse for the crimes.
He quoted from a periodical collected from the defendants jail cell back in August of 2015 in which Roof writes, I do not regret what I did. I am not sorry. I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed.
The prosecutor reminded jurors that even during this trial, Roof had entered the courtroom wearing hand draw racist emblems on his shoes.
Unrepentant , no regret, Richardson added.
At the conclusion of his closing debate, Richardson recommended jurors, Sentence this defendant to demise for killing Clementa Pinckney.
He recurred the phrase eight more days to add the names of each victim.
The same panel of three black jurors and nine whites that convicted Roof back in December once again sided with the prosecution, unanimously calling for the ultimate punishment.
Fox News Chip Bell and Multimedia Reporter Terace Garnier contributed to this report from Charleston .
Jonathan Serrie joined Fox News Channel( FNC) in April 1999 and currently serves as a correspondent based in the Atlanta bureau.
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