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Dylann Roof: 'I Do Not Regret What I Did'

On the morning after he gunned down nine people at a historic South Carolina church, Dylann Roof was cooperative -- almost genial -- with the white FBI agents who questioned him.

A video of the interrogation shows Roof helpfully provided the name of the website he used to find the church. He answered the FBI agents' questions carefully and calmly. And when they asked him why he did it, the then-21-year-old paused and gathered his thoughts.

"I had to do it because somebody had to do something," Roof told the agents. "Because black people are killing white people every day on the streets ... The fact of the matter is what I did is so miniscule to what they do to white people every day, all the time."

If the footage from that interview wasn't enough to convince a judge that Roof remains in full command of his faculties -- and was completely aware of what he was doing when he took those lives on June 17, 2005 -- his words and demeanor during a Jan. 4 sentencing hearing were, by his own admission, intended to drive that point home.

Roof, who is representing himself, did not call witnesses and didn't offer mitigating evidence to influence his sentencing, according to The New York Times. He said he would not allow lawyers to represent him because he didn't want them using mental illness as a defense in his case.

In a Charleston courtroom not far from the church where he killed a pastor, a state senator and seven others, the killer who wanted to start a race war didn't sugar coat his crime as he addressed Judge Richard M. Gergel.

“The point is that I’m not going to lie to you, not by myself or through somebody else,” Roof said, according to NPR. "There's nothing wrong with me psychologically."

In December of 2016, the South Carolina native was convicted on 33 separate federal counts stemming from the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The Jan. 4 hearing was the first in the sentencing phase of the trial, where Gergel is tasked with deciding whether Roof will face the death penalty or live the rest of his life behind bars. Eighteen of the 33 charges qualify for the death penalty, and prosecutors pushed hard for that option during the hearing.

During the hearing, prosecutors read from a journal they'd confiscated from Roof while he was in custody, about two months after the shooting.

“I would like to make it crystal clear I do not regret what I did,” Roof wrote, according to The Times. “I am not sorry. I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed.”

The only people Roof felt sorry for, he wrote, were "white children forced to live in this sick country" -- and himself.

"I feel pity that I had to give up my life," he said, "because of a situation that should never have existed.”

Sources: The New York Times, NPR / Photo credit: Charleston County Sheriff's Office via CNN

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