After a great deal of testimony, hours in the courtroom, and three hours of deliberation, the jury which holds Dylann Roof’s life in their hands have delivered their verdict and sentenced the 22-year-old to death.
Roof is to be put to death in South Carolina for the murder of nine churchgoers in a 2015 mass-shooting, of which he pled guilty to 33 counts.
Roof was hoping to avoid the death penalty, though some have wondered privately if he might be hoping to be sentenced to death in a strange martyr-type execution considering he has shown no remorse for his crimes.
The case was a long and unusual one, with Roof choosing to represent himself for most of his trial, in order to avoid his attorney’s agenda of trying to convince the jury that he was not competent.
Instead, Roof spent the bulk of his own trial sitting quietly, listening to the testimony from the family members of those he murdered, choosing not to question them.
The majority of Roof’s testimony came from a journal he kept while incarcerated which explained his motive, his lack of remorse, and more. In the journal, Roof said that he did not feel guilty about what he had done, and only felt a little bad when thinking about his future lack of freedom.
Roof said that he felt it was necessary for him to commit a violent act against the black community because the KKK and others were not carrying out racially-motivated mass murders. Before the mass murder of eight at a Charleston church, Roof took a racially-motivated tour of nearby plantation museums and Confederate monuments before entering the predominately black church, sitting in on the service a short while, and opening fire.
Before the jury entered their deliberations, Roof addressed them, asking them to spare his life.
“From what I’ve been told, I have a right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I’m not sure what good that will do anyway,” Roof said. “But what I will say is only one of you has to disagree with the other jurors.”
In remarks revealed to the courtroom just yesterday, Roof said that he felt it wasn’t fair that the families of those killed were able to share their personal testimony in the courtroom. Roof felt that he shouldn’t have to listen to such extensive personal testimony, and that it might sway the jury toward the death penalty.
The judge will officially sentence Roof to death on Wednesday.