Jury deliberates sentence as Dylann Roof denies he was filled with hate
In his closing argument Tuesday, convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof denied that he was filled with hatred.
Wouldnt it be fair to say that the prosecution dislikes 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 misinformed 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.
Acting as his own lawyer, Roof concluded his closing argument after only five minutes.
Thats all, he said.
Jurors started deliberations Tuesday afternoon. The brevity of Roofs statement stood in stark contrast to the prosecutions closing argument, which lasted for two hours.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson reminded jurors how the nine victims of the 2015 murder at Emanuel AME 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 here with a hateful heart and a Glock 45, Richardson said.
Richardson mentioned all of child victims by name, describing their importance 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 belief in Hitler as a saint, as an icon, as someone to be emulated.
The prosecution indicated the jury photos of Roof with his now familiar blank stare, pointing a handgun 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 find, Richardson told. 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 showed 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 compunction, Richardson added.
At the conclusion of his closing debate, Richardson exhorted jurors, Sentence this defendant to death for killing Clementa Pinckney.
He recurred the phrase eight more times to add the names of each victim.
The same panel of three black and nine white jurors who convicted Roof back in December must now decide whether the white supremacist should face executing for his crimes. If the jury fails to reach a unanimous decision, the judge will sentence Roof to life in prison without the possibility of release.
Jurors entered their deliberations after hearing days of witness witnes and evidence from the prosecution, but very little from the defense. Acting as his own attorney, Roof rested his occurrence yesterday without calling any witness or testifying on his own behalf.
At the beginning of the sentencing hearing, his brief opening statement made no mention of his crimes or white supremacist views. Instead, Roof used his opening statement to explain that he was serving as his own lawyer to avoid his defense team from presenting proof about his mental health.
There is nothing incorrect with me psychologically, Roof told the jury in his January 4 opening statement.
Roof expressed similar concerns outside the jurys presence during a Monday afternoon charge conference, where the magistrate and attorneys were discussing the specific instructions to be given to jurors before they began deliberations. Roof expressed concern about what details would be released from a pre-trial competency hearing after the verdict.
Judge Gergel said he had sealed much of the information from the competency hearing to protect the defendants right to a fair trial. But Gergel said that after the trial, he would have to weigh Roofs concerns against a strong First Amendment right for public access to information.
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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