Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old white supremacist who killed nine people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, has caused unbelievable pain and anger to many — including his own uncle, who says that if given the opportunity, he would “pull the switch” on his nephew’s electric chair. Carson Cowles said his nephew is “guilty as hell” and that he’s “going to ride the lighting,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
“He’s going to pay for what he’s done. I’d pull the switch myself if they’d let me. Our family is devastated. He’ll get no sympathy from us, any of us.”
Six woman and three men died after being shot while attending a Bible study group at Emmanel African Methodist Episcopal Church Wednesday night, where Roof reportedly reloaded his weapon five times. Dylann Roof was described as a “loner” by friends who had dropped out of school in the ninth grade and lived in a log cabin near a South Carolina swamp. The 21-year-old had reportedly frightened friends with his anti-African American speech, which some categorized as “hate speech” that included him tangentially protesting the “rape of white women by black men,” a phrase he uttered as he shot down the nine church members on Wednesday night. He was believed to have acted alone, with no membership to any hate groups or have any association with white supremacist groups. However, Facebook photos of the man show him with patches on his clothing that could indicate some type of group membership, although what group is unclear.
Roof was found 250 miles away in North Carolina and taken back to South Carolina, where he was charged with one count of murder to get the process started as the investigation continues. He is in solitary confinement and on suicide watch, which is protocol for high-profile incidents such as this. Roof could be seen wearing a bullet-proof vest as he was led from the courthouse to the police cruiser.
South Carolina does have the death penalty, and it’s likely it would be sought in Roof’s case if he is found to be mentally competent to stand trial. However, the average length of time for death penalty appeals in South Carolina is three years, with many much longer, although that is still a shorter time for appeals than the national average. It is unknown if Roof has retained an attorney or what he has said to investigators at this point.
[Photo by ABC News]