Charleston Church Shooting: Dylann Roof sentenced to death


CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – A federal jury has sentenced Dylann Roof to death for killing nine black church members in a racially motivated attack in 2015.

Roof, who is white, faced either life in prison or execution for the slayings on June 17, 2015. The Justice Department says he is the first person to get the death penalty for federal hate crimes.

The jury reached a decision after about three hours of deliberations.

Roof was convicted last month of all 33 federal charges against him. During sentencing, he represented himself and told jurors he didn’t have a mental illness. But he didn’t offer any remorse or ask that his life be spared.

Roof told FBI agents he wanted to bring back segregation or perhaps start a race war with the slayings.

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4:30 p.m.

A jury deliberating whether Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof should be sentenced to life in prison or death has reached a verdict.

It will be announced soon. Roof was convicted of killing nine black church members in a racially motivated attack on June 17, 2015.

The jury reached a decision after about three hours of deliberations.

Roof, who is white, was convicted last month of all 33 federal charges against him. During the penalty phase of the trial, he represented himself and told jurors he didn’t have a mental illness, but he didn’t offer any remorse or ask that his life be spared.

In a lengthy confession, Roof told FBI agents he wanted to bring back segregation or perhaps start a race war with the slayings.

Jurors have begun deliberating over whether Dylann Roof is sentenced to death or life in prison for his crimes.

Jurors were sent to the jury room Tuesday afternoon to begin considering the case after U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel reviewed the charge that governs jurors’ discussions.

Prosecutors focused on the gruesome nature of the slayings of nine black parishioners attending a June 2015 Bible study at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson also reminded jurors about the days of emotional testimony they’ve heard from relatives of all nine people killed.

Roof gave a brief closing of his own, telling jurors he knew he could ask them to spare his life but wasn’t sure “what good that would do.”

Roof is his own attorney in these proceedings and also told jurors he knew only one of them had to disagree with the others in order for him to avoid a death sentence.

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12:25 p.m.

Roof did not ask the jury to spare his life for killing nine black church members in June 2015. He gave a closing argument of about five minutes on Tuesday. At one point, he said he felt like he had to commit the slayings, and “I still feel like I had to do it.”

Prosecutors say he should be executed because he had a “hateful heart” and the young white man targeted the black church in a racially motivated attack.
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11:50 a.m.

Prosecutors have made their final case as to why they believe Dylann Roof should die for slaying nine people during a Bible study.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson told jurors on Tuesday that Roof’s crimes more than meet the standards they’ll consider for a possible death sentence.

Richardson says the way Roof mercilessly gunned down the black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church, coupled with his lack of remorse, mean he should receive the harshest sentence available.

Richardson also reviewed emotional testimony jurors have heard about each of the victims and the voids created by their deaths.

Roof is representing himself. The government will have the opportunity to give a rebuttal to anything Roof says, if he gives a closing argument.

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