Dylann Roof represented himself and showed no remorse in court even after he was sentenced to death. The federal jury reached the decision in only three hours on Tuesday, January 10, 2017. The white supremacist killed nine African-American churchgoers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015, after being in a Bible class 40 minutes with them.
The jury of nine whites and three blacks that found Roof guilty of 33 counts last month was the same jury that that suggested that he be put to death. The jury came up with its unanimous verdict in just three hours of deliberations. During closing arguments that last more than two hours, assistant United States attorney, Julius N. Richardson, urged jurors to hold Roof fully accountable for his crimes.
Roof represented himself in court. He insisted he didn't need any psychological evaluation. He didn't call any witnesses or character reference, and he didn't present any evidence in his own defense. Roof said in his closing argument that he could ask jurors to give him a life sentence instead of a death sentence, but he was not sure what good that would do. The 22-year-old killer showed no emotion as Judge Richard M. Gergel of the Federal District Court announced the verdict.
Reaction from victims' families
Melvin Graham, whose sister Cynthia Hurd, 54, a librarian, died in the attack, welcomed the decision. He said you can't justify saving one life when Roof took nine lives in such a brutal fashion. Rev. Anthony B. Thompson, the widower of another victim, Myra Thompson, said he had already forgiven the killer of his wife and would never take the forgiveness back.
Members of Mr. Roof’s family had been silent since Roof's arrest. They said in a statement on Tuesday that they would struggle as long as they live to understand why their relative caused so much pain to so many good people.
Roof is the first person to ever be sentenced to die for a federal hate crime. Even though he was sentenced to death, it probably will not happen immediately because he still faces murder charges in state court. #Dylann Roof #death sentence #News