Dylann Roof, the mass shooter convicted of killing nine people in a June 2015 rampage at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina, has been sentenced to death for his crimes. Roof has stated he hoped his actions would incite a race war.
According to the Charleston Post and Courier, when presented with opportunity to argue for a life sentence earlier, Roof said, “I’m not sure what good that will do anyway.”
“I think it’s safe to say that someone in their right mind wouldn’t go into a church and kill people,” Roof told the federal courtroom. “You might remember in my confession to the FBI, I told them I had to do it. Obviously, that isn’t true because I didn’t have to do it. I didn’t have to do anything. But what I meant when I said that was I felt like I had to do that. And I still feel like I had to do it.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney General Jay Richardson argued that 22-year-old Roof specifically chose Emanuel AME church because it is the oldest African-American church in the South, notes Al Jazeera. Roof acted as his own attorney, and neither questioned any witness throughout the trial, nor presented any evidence.
“Wouldn’t it be fair to say that the prosecution hates me since they are the ones trying to give me the death penalty?” Roof continued in a statement to the court, notes the Post and Courier. “You could say, ‘Of course they hate you. Everyone hates you. They have good reason to hate you.’ I’m not denying that. My point is that anyone who hates anything, in their mind, has a good reason.”
According to South Carolina Public Radio, in Roof's prison writings, he wrote: “I would like to make it crystal clear I do not regret what I did. I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed.”