Dylann Roof is sentenced to death after refusing to voice remorse over claiming the lives of nine African Americans during a racially motivated mass shooting.
In final arguments to jurors on Tuesday, Roof did not even ask them to spare his life, voicing doubt “what good it would do” to ask for life behind bars instead of execution.
“I still feel like I had to do it,” Roof said. “Anyone who hates anything in their mind has a good reason for it.”
Members of the jury began deliberations late Tuesday to come up with a unanimous decision, whose absence would have automatically meant life prison for Dylann.
HIs defense team released a statement,voicing sympathy for “all of the families who were so grievously hurt by Dylann Roof’s actions”, adding, “Today’s sentencing decision means that this case will not be over for a very long time. We are sorry that, despite our best efforts, the legal proceedings have shed so little light on the reasons for this tragedy.”
According to assistant US attorney Jay Richardson, Dylann attacked the 12 churchgoers, three of whom survived, with a “hateful heart.”
“They welcomed a 13th person that night ... with a kind word, a Bible, a handout and a chair,” Richardson said during his closing argument. “He had come with a hateful heart and a Glock .45.”
In what seemed to be a racially motivated assault, the 22-year-old opened fire on participants of an evening Bible study class at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2015 with a 45-caliber Glock handgun. Three people survived the massacre.
He joined the Bible study at the church and stayed an hour with the eventual victims before removing a gun from a small pack he was wearing. The white man went on a shooting rampage, killing eight African Americans on the spot. Another victim died in hospital later.
Roof was arrested one day after the shooting incident and charged with murdering nine people.
In his website, Roof vehemently denounced African Americans and appeared in photographs with guns and burning the US flag.
The attack reignited the debate about ever growing racism and gun violence in America.