White supremacist Dylann Roof tells jury: There's nothing wrong with me

Alicia WestJan 05, 2017

Speaking in public for the first time about the massacre of nine people at a SC church, avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof tried to assure jurors on Wednesday that "there is nothing wrong with me psychologically". Last month, the same jury unanimously found Roof guilty in the slayings of the nine black parishioners. Now, that jury is set to determine the punishment Roof will receive for those murders: execution or life in prison.

The sentencing phase of Roof's federal trial opened earlier in the day with the defendant telling jurors that he was representing himself because he did not want them to hear any mental health evidence - but insisting he is not mentally ill. "And the point is that I'm not going to lie to you". He admitted that - despite facing the death penalty - he is representing himself because he didn't want a lawyer to try to save him by using his mental health as a defense. Roof confessed to the killings in a videotaped interview with federal agents, which was played at the guilt phase of his trial. Many subsequent motions have been filed under seal, purportedly to hide sensitive information, but it's likely further details on what lawyers planned to present are contained within.

Roof wouldn't be the first person to plan on sabotaging his own defense in an effort to die for his cause.

Roof added that his pity was reserved for innocent white children "forced to live in this sick country" and white people "killed daily at the hands of the lower race".

Any one of the killings at Emanuel AME Church would warrant death, Williams said.

"If you happen to remember anything that my lawyers said ..." I have shed a tear of self-pity for myself.

Williams said Roof targeted his victims because of the color of their skin and said he preyed upon their vulnerability.

The man convicted of killing nine worshippers at a SC church has addressed the jury for the first time to deny he is mentally ill. Clementa Pinckney, a "prodigy of the ministry" who was a man of faith, service and family dedication. But Williams said Roof wrote that he knew he had to do something.

The prosecutor also read a portion from a journal found in Roof's jail cell six weeks after his arrest.

"I would ask you to forget all of that", Roof said in a short statement, speaking quietly as he occasionally glanced at notes.

Prosecuting attorney Nathan Williams showed the court the journal, which went on to say, "I did not regret what I did".

The government is expected to call more than 30 witnesses, mostly survivors and victims' family members, to testify.

"He said, 'I don't know'". She locked the door and moved her daughter back to a connected secretary's office, locking that door as well.

She told the jury she and her daughter could have easily been victims, but she thinks her life was spared so she could continue her husband's legacy.

"It wasn't my time", she said. "You can't please everyone".

Roof also is scheduled to be tried on state murder charges, for which he could also be sentenced to death.

"We enjoyed each other's company", Pinckney said.

"In that case, my self representation accomplishes nothing", Roof said.

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