Charleston Victim's Brother Calls Dylann Roof's Sentence a 'Hollow Victory'

Willard RiveraJan 12, 2017

The white supremacist convicted of murdering nine African Americans after attending a Bible study class with them in Charleston, South Carolina has been sentenced by a jury to death. As reported by MSNBC, Roof is the first person charged with hate crimes to get the federal death penalty.

The jury deliberated for about three hours. But the same jury, made up of nine white and three black people, had to decide whether he would face execution or life in prison in a case where Roof represented himself.

In a statement, Roof's defense team, which he had rejected using during the sentencing phase of the trial, expressed sympathy for "all of the families who were so grievously hurt by Dylann Roof's actions".

In a lengthy confession, Roof told Federal Bureau of Investigation agents he wanted to bring back segregation or perhaps start a race war with the slayings. "I didn't have to do anything". Law officers also reviewed Roof's jailhouse journal in which he said he felt no regret for his crimes. "From what I've been told, I have a right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I'm not sure what good that will do anyway", Roof said. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel scheduled formal sentencing for Wednesday morning.

A memorial for nine people killed at the Emanuel AME Church is displayed outside the Charleston church house, where Dylann Roof went on a shooting rampage the night of June 17, 2015. Mr. Roof sat quietly, his head hung low, for about 45 minutes while the group considered the meaning of the Gospel of Mark's account of the Parable of the Sower. Roof admitted he was guilty and that the motive was to spark a race war.

Throughout the trial, Roof appeared cold and emotionally detached.

His remarks in open court marked the first time Roof himself was really heard by the US public.

That leaves jurors deciding his fate to consider only the evidence offered by USA prosecutors, including four days of poignant testimony from more than 20 family and friends of the victims, who recounted the lives of their loved ones, ages 26 to 87, and the impact of their deaths. "I didn't have to do anything", Roof said.

Earlier Monday, federal prosecutors rested their case in the penalty phase after several family members spoke about Tywanza Sanders, 26, who according to trial testimony told the gunman, "You don't have to do this" before he was shot at least five times.

Roof had the opportunity to present evidence that he had possibly suffered from mental illness, but he did not call any witnesses or present any evidence.

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