The 22-year-old mass murderer was found guilty on all counts after just two hours of deliberations. Impassive Roof, stared straight ahead as the guilty verdict was pronounced for all 33 counts.
The self-proclaimed white supremacist shot and killed down nine black parishioners in a Bible study group at Emanuel AME Church on June, 17, 2015 .The carefully planned massacre at the historic black church was calculated to ignite a race war or racial tension, at least. Ironically the outcome was the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse after 50 years of protests. Roof featured the flag in many of the disturbing selfies he posted on social media the killings. Those were was taken down as well.
Shooting survivors Felicia Sanders and Polly Sheppard. The later testified on Wednesday
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams said in his closing remarks, highlighted the hatred that drove Roof. Roof was full of hate and “immense racial ignorance,” Williams said.
“There is no bravery in this defendant. There is no bravery in his actions,” The U.S. Attorney said.
“These nine people exemplified a goodness that was greater than his message of hate.”
Police activity at the Emmanuel AME church in Charleston SC., on he night of the massacre
Defense attorney David Bruck called no witnesses. In his opening statements he told jurors that everything prosecutors had accused Roof of doing was true.
The jury heard the chilling 911 phone call from a survivor intentionally spared from the Charleston church shooting Wednesday as prosecutors rested their case against Dylann Roof.
Polly Sheppard sat on the stand while her 911 call on June 17, 2015, was played in court on Wednesday.
Video evidence shows Dylann Roof calmly walking into the church and exiting, leaving carnage behind
Groans could be heard as Roof stalked the historic Emanuel AME Church, killing nine black worshipers. Each victim was shot at least five times.
Prosecutors introduced insurmountable evidence against Roof, including video of his entry and exit from the crime scene, as well as, a two-hour confession to investigators and his racist manifesto.
“I went to that church in Charleston and I did it,” Roof said.
“Somebody had to do it.”
The defense struck out with an insanity plea as the judge ruled the defendant could not use defective mental health as a defense. Still, Roof’s mental state will likely become an issue during the sentencing phase of the trial that will begin Jan. 3, when
the same jury will decide whether he deserves the death penalty or receives a life sentence.
Memorial in honor of the victims of the Charleston church shooting
Roof had researched black churches and visited historic sites of slavery around South Carolina.
Dylann Roof claimed his racist juices started flowing after George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin in 2012.
“Black people are killing white people everyday… What I did is so minuscule compared to what they do to white people every day,” he said.
Mass shooter Dylann Roof on Facebook – Seen here wearing flags of segregated Rhodesia [now Zimbabwe] and Apartheid-era South Africa in his profile picture
Roof loaded eight clips with 88 bullets before joining the Bible study group. He shot 77 times inside the church, opening fire when the group stood up in prayer.
“He walked into the church with murder in his heart,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Curran said. “That’s why, when they closed in prayer, he shot them dead.”
Roof’s hatred was met with such revulsion that South Carolinians of all races and political persuasions joined in a successful effort to remove the Confederate flag from its prominent place at the state capitol.
In dignified response to his hatred and angst, families of the victims forgave Roof during his very first court appearance.
The tragedy, and the grace of the victims’ families and two adult survivors, inspired the backdrop for President Obama’s powerful speech at the funeral service for the slain nine. In his eulogy President Obama praised senior pastor and State Senator Clementa Pinckney, who was among the dead.
“Reverend Pinckney embodied a politics that was neither mean, nor small. He conducted himself quietly, and kindly, and diligently,” Obama said.
The victims he said were “People so full of life and so full of kindness. People who ran the race, who persevered. People of great faith.”
Dissecting the root of the hatred borne by Roof the president said the nation has
“A long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress,” Obama said.
In her own address to Roof in court, Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old victim Ethel Lance told the killer: “You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again.
“I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul,” Nadine Collie said.