• Today
    December 15

  • 10:01 AM

Facing death, South Carolina church gunman stands by killings

REUTERS,

Added 10 January 2017

dylann-roof

Dylann Roof, who is facing the death penalty for the hate-fuelled killings of nine black churchgoers, makes his opening statement at his trial in this courtroom sketch in Charleston, South Carolina, US, January 4, 2017. (Reuters)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Convicted murderer Dylann Roof was unrepentant at his federal capital trial on Tuesday, telling jurors who will decide whether he should be executed that he still felt killing nine black people at a South Carolina church was something he had to do.

Roof, a 22-year-old white supremacist who is representing himself, did not ask the jury to spare his life for the 2015 massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

"In my confession to the FBI, I told them that I had to do it," Roof said during his short closing argument. "I felt like I had to do it when I said that and I still feel that way."

Jurors began deliberating the penalty phase of the trial just after 1:30 p.m. ET (1830 GMT). Last month, they deliberated for about two hours before finding Roof guilty of 33 charges, including hate crimes resulting in death.

Roof told the jury that federal prosecutors who accused him of being filled with hatred did not understand real hate. He noted it would only take one juror to block the unanimous verdict needed for a death sentence.

"I have a right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I'm not sure what good that will do anyone," Roof said.

A United States prosecutor argued Roof deserved to die because the shooting was calculated and intended to incite racial violence.

Roof sat for 40 minutes with parishioners gathered for a Bible study meeting on June 17, 2015, before opening fire as they closed their eyes to pray, Assistant US Attorney Jay Richardson said.

"He'd come with a hateful heart and a Glock 45," the prosecutor said during his two-hour final argument. "This was cold and calculated, planned for months, researched for years."

Jurors again viewed photos of the bodies of victims Clementa Pinckney, 41, the church’s pastor and a state senator; DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49; Sharonda Coleman Singleton, 45; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Myra Thompson, 59; Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; and Tywanza Sanders, 26. Roof's offer to plead guilty in exchange for life in prison, his cooperation with authorities and his lack of a violent past did not outweigh the aggravating factors of the crime, Richardson said.

"What's wrong here is the calculated racism, the choice to target a church, particularly the people in a church," Richardson said. "What's wrong here is precisely why this is a case that justifies the death penalty." (Reuters)

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Dos and Donts


Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus

VIDEO

BLOGS

KRYSTLE CLEAR img
THE LONG VIEW img
INSIDE EDITORIAL img
What's Trending img
MONEY MATTERS img
Toni-Ann Johnson img

FRONT COVER OF TODAY'S NEWSPAPER

CARTOON

POLL

Are you cutting back on how much you spend this Christmas?

Yes
No
Not sure yet

INSTAGRAM