Dylann Roof appeared at a bail hearing on June 19, and the families of the nine victims addressed the man accused of opening fire in a South Carolina church via satellite video.
During the hearing, the judge gave family members the opportunity to speak to Roof directly. Many heartbroken family members expressed their forgiveness for their loved ones' deaths.
“I will never talk to her again,” a representative for the family of Ethel Lance said during the healing. “I will never hold her again... you hurt me, you hurt our people, let God forgive you, and I forgive you.”
In equally painful and emotional statements, the families of other victims who were present in the courtroom forgave Roof and also expressed their grief and anger towards him for his actions.
“Every fiber in my body hurts,” the mother of victim Tywanza Sanders said. “Tywanza Sanders is my son, but Tywanza was my hero. May God have mercy on you.”
“Although my grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of hate, this is proof — everyone’s plea for your soul is proof — that they lived in love, and their legacies will live in love,” Daniel Simmons’ granddaughter said.
Judge James B. Gosnell sparked controversy over his opening remarks, in which he expressed sympathy for Roof’s family.
Roof’s bail was set at $1 million. He is, according to reports, in a cell right next to Michael Slager, the former North Charleston police officer who shot and killed unarmed black man Walter Scott in April.
Watch the families’ statements below.
Photo Credit: CNN Video Screenshot