NewsNational/International News


Jury sentences convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof to death

Posted: 4:38 PM, Jan 10, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-10 17:44:53-05

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A federal jury has sentenced Dylann Roof to death for killing nine black church members in a racially motivated attack in 2015.

Roof, who is white, faced either life in prison or execution for the slayings on June 17, 2015. The Justice Department says he is the first person to get the death penalty for federal hate crimes.

The jury reached a decision after about three hours of deliberations.

Roof, 22, was convicted last month of all 33 federal charges against him. During sentencing, he represented himself and told jurors he didn't have a mental illness. But he didn't offer any remorse or ask that his life be spared.

Prosecutors presented writings from Roof's jailhouse journal saying he did not regret what he did.

"I am not sorry," Roof wrote. "I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed."

Roof told FBI agents he wanted to bring back segregation or perhaps start a race war with the slayings.

"In my confession to the FBI I told them that I had to do it, and obviously that's not really true. ... I didn't have to do anything," Roof said during his five-minute closing argument in the penalty phase. "But what I meant when I said that was, I felt like I had to do it, and I still do feel like I had to do it."

Roof, an avowed white supremacist, barged into the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston and opened fire. He had visited the church three times before to scout out his target.

Roof had even sat with the members 40 minutes before pulling the trigger more than 75 times.