Crime

Dylann Roof To Plead Guilty To State Charges

| by Ray Brown

Mass murderer Dylann Roof is expected to plead guilty to state charges of murder nearly four months after a federal jury had already convicted him of killing nine black people attending Bible study at the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, back in 2015.

Roof, 22, was unapologetic during his federal trial and reports indicate the same thing for his state trial.

"In my confession to the FBI I told them that I had to do it, and obviously that's not really true. ... I didn't have to do anything," Roof said during his five-minute closing argument during the penalty phase of his federal trial, according to CNN. "But what I meant when I said that was, I felt like I had to do it, and I still do feel like I had to do it."

"I have the right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I'm not sure what good it would do anyway," Roof added, according to The Associated Press.

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The federal jury recommended that Roof be put to death and the judge agreed.

Roof, a white supremacist who had published a racist manifesto online shortly before murdering nine black people, became the first person to be sentenced to death for federal hate crimes, according to CNN.

"You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go," Roof reportedly said before firing his gun inside the Charleston church, according to WXIN.

By pleading guilty to state charges of murder, Roof, who has never claimed innocence, will be moved to a federal facility and ultimately face execution.

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According to WXIN, the victims were: Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45; Myra Thompson, 59.

Prosecutors said they pursued state charges against Roof in case federal charges didn't result in the death penalty.

But after the death penalty verdict in January, Roof plead guilty to avoid the trial sentencing for the state charges, which wouldn't have been able to outrank the federal punishment.

"I write with great news that the state’s case is ready to wrap up. As I told you towards the end of trial and in other updates, at this point our goal is to provide an insurance policy to the federal conviction and sentence," said 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, according to The Post and Courier. "The most effective way to do that is to secure a guilty plea for a life sentence and get the defendant into federal custody."

Sources: CNN, The Associated Press, WXIN, The Post and Courier / Photo credit: Charleston County Sheriff's Office via CNN

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