Convicted Murderer Dylann Roof’s Sentencing Hearing
On December 15, 2016, a jury in Dylann Roof’s federal trial deliberated less than 2 hours, and convicted him on all counts of hate crimes, obstruction of religion and weapons charges. This blog followed the trial.
The same jury panel of nine Whites people and three Blacks reconvened today to decide whether Roof is sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.
Originally scheduled to begin on January 3, 2017, Dylann Roof asked that his sentencing trial be delayed for a day. His reason was because he spent the weekend undergoing a competency evaluation. Federal District Court Judge Gergel has now, twice, found Roof competent to represent himself.
Roof’s competency took focus in his opening statement today when he told the jury;
“The point is I’m not going to lie to you,” Roof said. “There’s nothing wrong with me psychologically.”
Roof also made a statement that he felt betrayed. Coupled with things that he wrote in his journal, it paints the idea that Roof’s desire to murder Blacks was influenced by other White Supremacists who he assumed would do the same.
At today’s hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams focused on those who died in the shooting, and on what he called Roof’s lack of regret. Federal prosecutors entered into evidence photos of the deceased. The Exhibits include Exhibit 750, a voice mail of the Rev. Pinckney; and Exhibit 746, a video of Rev. Pinckney introducing himself to a group in the church, and speaking on the church’s background. The Exhibits are available on the court’s website.
Federal prosecutors introduced Roof’s journal, which he kept in jail. It was central to prosecutor’s asking the jury to decide to sentence Roof to the death penalty. Six weeks after murdering the nine people, Roof wrote:
“I did not regret what I did. I am not sorry. I do feel sorry for the innocent white people that are killed daily at the hands of the lower races.”
“I created the biggest wave I could. I did all I can do, now it is in the hands of my brothers.”
The Washington Post reports on the testimony of Jennifer Pinckney, wife of the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, who heard Roof gun down her husband as she hid in an office with their daughter. She testified of hearing Roof speak as he tried opening the locked door to the office.
The federal courts do not allow cameras or video. After each day’s hearing has concluded, reporters recap the day’s activities. The following are two videos from today’s hearing.
I’ll keep the hearings updated in the comment section below.