News World South Carolina killer Dylann Roof sentenced to death

South Carolina killer Dylann Roof sentenced to death

dylan roof
Roof has shown no remorse for his massacre, as he represented himself in court. Photo: AAP
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A US 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 on Tuesday after about three hours of deliberations.

Roof 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.

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

At the beginning of the trial, Roof addressed jurors directly, insisting that he wasn’t mentally ill.

He threw away one last chance to plead for his life on Tuesday, telling jurors: “I still feel like I had to do it.”

Every juror looked directly at Roof as he spoke for about five minutes. A few nodded as he reminded them that they said during jury selection they could fairly weigh the factors of his case.

Only one of them, he noted, had to disagree to spare his life.

“I have the right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I’m not sure what good it would do anyway,” he said.

When the verdict was read, he stood stoic and showed no emotion. He will be formally sentenced on Wednesday.

The attacker specifically picked out Emanuel AME Church, the South’s oldest black church, to carry out the cold, calculated slaughter, Assistant US Attorney Jay Richardson said.

Roof’s lawyers said in a statement after the verdict: “Today’s sentencing decision means that this case will not be over for a very long time,”

Roof still faces a trial on murder charges in state court, where prosecutors also are seeking the death penalty.

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