South Carolina prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Dylann Roof, the young white supremacist accused of killing nine people in a Charleston church this June. Court documents labeled as a "notice of intention to seek the death penalty" were filed on Thursday on behalf of Dylann Roof and were signed by South Carolina Solicitor Scarlett Wilson.
According to NPR, Wilson spoke to the press to announce that the state was actively seeking capital punishment for the mass murderer, claiming that he knowingly intended to cause "great risk of death" to multiple people. She described the actions of Dylann Roof as "the ultimate crime that deserved the ultimate punishment."
To make a case for the death penalty, South Carolina prosecutors intend to present evidence of Dylann Roof's criminal record and previous misconduct, as well as psychological evidence of the killer's mental health, namely the lack of remorse that Dylann Roof exhibits for his victims.
Dylann Roof is scheduled to face nine counts of murder at his next court appearance in October, according to NBC News. But because of the nature of the killings, Dylann Roof is also facing additional charges that could make his death penalty sentence even more likely.
Even though South Carolina has no hate crime laws, Roof may be facing federal hate crime charges, according to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, because the killings were undeniably motivated by racial hate. Evidence of Dylann Roof attempting to instigate racial violence online and photos of him waving the Confederate flag would make this case particularly easy to prove. A federal hate crime charge alone could make Roof eligible for the death penalty. Dylann Roof will also be charged for obstructing the free practice of religion.
While some family members of the Charleston shooting victims are calling for forgiveness, Solicitor Wilson has asked that they respect her "decision to seek the death penalty."
"People who have already been victimized should not bear the burden of making the decisions on behalf of an entire community," Wilson said. "They shouldn't have to weigh the concerns of other people. They shouldn't have to consider the facts of the case."
As the Inquisitr previously reported, Dylann Roof has entered a plea of not guilty to the charges, but the prosecution has reportedly amassed a lot of evidence to counter that claim, including "photographs, video tapes, diagrams of the scene and victims, expert testimony, and statements by the Defendant, internet postings by the Defendant and other testimony related thereto."
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[Image credit: Lexington County Sheriff's Department, Pool / Getty Images]