Dylann Roof has been sentenced to death after jurors deliberated for nearly three hours. Roof, who was arrested in 2015 for killing nine black people in a Charleston church as they attended Bible study, has shown no remorse for his crimes, leading jurors to condemn him to death on Tuesday.
Vice reported that during his sentencing, Roof appeared to remain “emotionless” as the jury delivered their verdict. The jury agreed on “each of the non-statutory aggravating factors, including a lack of remorse, that Roof’s crime was racially motivated and that he intentionally sought to cause harm to others.”
Dylann Roof, 22, refused a lawyer and chose to represent himself. During the trial, he did not present any witnesses, provide any evidence on his behalf, or ask jurors to spare his life though he could have received life in prison rather than the death penalty. Denying allegations that he was mentally ill, Roof continued to defend his actions.
Dylan Roof was convicted last December on 33 federal charges. Roof’s charges include carrying out a hate crime as well as obstruction of religion.
The jury’s decision follows four days of testimony in which prosecutors called dozens of people to the stand. Most of the testimony came from friends and relatives of the nine victims Dylann Roof killed at Emanuel AME Church.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Jennifer Pinckney, the wife of the church’s pastor, Clementa Pinckney, was the first to testify. Pinckney, who was also a state senator, was one of the people killed in the attack. According to Jennifer Pinckney, during the attack, she was “huddled underneath a desk with her youngest daughter as shots rang out in the next room, unsure if the shooter was coming her way.”
Another survivor, Felicia Sanders, talked about her 26-year-old son, the youngest of Roof’s victims, and how he and the other people present in the church were committed to their faith.
That night they were getting basic instruction before leaving Earth. I did not know that was going to be the life of them.
In the year and a half following the shooting, Dylann Roof has not apologized for his actions.
ABC News shared Roof’s closing argument, in which he continued to defend the massacre, saying that he “had to do it.”
“I think that it’s safe to say that no one in their right mind wants to go into a church and kill people,” said Roof. “But obviously that’s not really true. I didn’t have to do it, and no one made me do it. What I meant when I said that was I felt like I had to do it, and I still feel like I had to do it.”
The government asked for the jury to give Roof the death penalty. Roof, rather than asking for mercy, justified his actions to the jury by saying, “Anyone who hates anything in their mind has a good reason to hate.”
On the night of the killings, Dylann Roof, a stranger to the congregation of Emanuel AME Church, was invited to join them in their Bible study. While their eyes were closed in prayer, Roof, at the time only 21, opened fire. Nine people were killed, and one more was injured. Roof later confessed that he hoped his actions would ignite a race war.
The New York Times revealed that Dylann Roof’s family, who has largely avoided the press since the arrest, said that they would “struggle as long as we live to understand why he committed this horrible attack, which caused so much pain to so many good people.”
The jury, which consisted of nine white people and three black people, unanimously agreed to sentence Dylann Roof to the death penalty. Just one dissenting vote would have spared Roof’s life and diminished his sentence to life in prison.
[Featured Image by Grace Beahm/Pool/Getty Images]