On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof went to the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina where they were holding Bible Study. He shot and killed 9 people. A manhunt resulted, and Roof was found and arrested in North Carolina. He confessed to the killings.
Roof is an avowed White supremacist who perceived that he had to save the White race from Blacks. He wanted to start a race war. Roof waited until parishioners closed their eyes to pray before firing his Glock .45-caliber pistol. When it was over, Roof had fired more than 70 shots, striking his victims 60 times.
The 22-year old is charged with 12 federal counts of hate crimes, 12 counts of obstructing the exercise of religion, and 9 counts of firearm violations. Federal prosecutors seek the death penalty.
Discarding empty magazines and reloading his weapon, Roof found survivor Polly Sheppard hiding as she prayed. Roof told her to shut up, before asking if she had been shot. Sheppard was then told that she would be left alive so that she could tell others what had occurred. She will likely serve as the final witness for the prosecution in the guilt phase of the trial.
Since he was arrested, there have been numerous pleadings and hearings in the case. To report on each one would be tedious. The most recent included a motion to find Roof mentally incompetent to stand trial. The court denied that motion. The LA Times reports that Judge Gergel found Roof capable of standing trial on the basis that he completed the 9th grade and had an “extremely high IQ” and was able to understand courtroom proceedings. A legal expert however, stated that there is a clear difference between intellectual ability and judgment.
It is not known what type of mental illness or emotional disturbance Roof may or may not have because the hearings were closed to the public.
Roof’s attorneys offered to change Roof’s plea to guilty in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without parole. Federal prosecutors turned down the offer.
Just before jury selection, Roof motioned the judge to release his attorneys. He wanted to represent himself. The judge granted Roof’s motion. After jury selection, Roof asked the judge to rehire his attorneys, but he wants to represent himself during the penalty phase. The judge granted his motion. Read the rest of this entry
No matter what path you walk, there is a basic truth that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control are the 9 spiritual fruits, the evidence seen in how we live – indeed, why we live. Last night in Charleston, South Carolina, people gathered in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church for prayer. Nine of them were murdered. ABC reports that at least one is in the hospital wounded.
May their spilled blood produce the fruits of righteous judgment and spring forth trees of love.
Reported early is that among the victims is Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, who was also a Democratic State Senator. Rev. Pinckney was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1996 at the age of 23. In 2000, at the age of 27, he was elected to the State Senate. He was one of the youngest persons and the youngest African-American in South Carolina to be elected to the State Legislature. His committee assignments included Senate Finance, Banking and Insurance, Transportation, Medical Affairs and Corrections and Penology. He and his wife Jennifer have two children.
Police say the suspect is a clean-shaven white man in his 20s, with a slender build. He was wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans and boots. Read the rest of this entry