Dylann Roof jury: Death penalty for Charleston church shooter

Dylann Roof. Photo courtesy of Charleston County Sheriff's Office

CHARLESTON, S.C., Jan. 10 (Gephardt Daily/UPI) —  Dylann Roof, who confessed to killing nine worshipers at a historic black church in Charleston in 2015, should be put to death, 12 federal jurors said Tuesday.

The 10 women and two men recommended the death penalty for all 18 counts that carried that as a possible sentence, CNN reported.

Roof will be formally sentenced by Judge Richard Gergel Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. eastern time.

Before the jury deliberated his fate for three hours, Roof suggested to the jury he still feels like he had to carry out the massacre.

Roof made the comment during the final day of his federal death penalty trial in which he represented himself. Roof, a self-avowed white supremacist, has been convicted of federal hate crimes in the June 17, 2015, shooting at a Bible study session at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

In his closing statement, Roof said the taped confession he provided to the FBI misinterpreted his intentions. Roof said he carried out the massacre not because he “had to,” as he said in the FBI confession, but because he “felt” like he had to.

“I think it’s safe to say nobody in their mind wants to go into a church and kill people,” Roof said in the courtroom. “In my tape I told them I had to. But it’s not true: I didn’t have to. No one made me. What I meant was: I felt like I had to do it. I still feel like I have to do it.”

Last week, Roof told jurors there was “nothing wrong with me psychologically” in his attempt to prevent them from considering mental illness in determining his sentence.

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Roof on Tuesday said he was not sure if seeking a life sentence instead of a death sentence would have a “good” effect.

“Anyone, including the prosecution, who thinks I’m filled with hatred has no idea what hate is. They don’t know anything about hate,” Roof said. “From what I’ve been told, I have a right to ask to give me a life sentence. But I’m not sure what good that would do anyway.”

“Anyone who hates anything in their mind has a good reason to hate,” Roof added.

In the prosecution’s closing statements, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson urged jurors to “sentence this defendant to death.”

“He was unrepentant,” Richardson said. “He understood the consequences that would be coming.”

South Carolina state Sen. Clementa Pickney, 41, who was also a pastor at the church; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Myra Thompson, 59; Ethel Lance, 70; Susie Jackson, 87; DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49; Sharonda Singleton, 45; and Daniel Simmons Sr., 74, died in the attack.

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