No Witnesses in Dylann Roof Sentencing Case
Dylann Roof, the 22-year-old self-proclaimed White supremacist who fatally shot nine Black churchgoers last year, will not call any witnesses to the stand during his federal sentencing trial.
ABC News reports that Roof also confirmed his continued intent to represent himself.
Roof, who appeared in court with his hands and feet shackled in a strip prison uniform, was convicted of shooting and killing the parishioners on June 17, 2015 earlier this month. The 33 federal counts against him included hate crimes resulting in death and obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death.
A loner who has espoused violent racist sentiments for years, Roof began his plot to kill Blacks at least two years ago when he began to visit historical sites that were connected to Black history around the Charleston area. He settled on Emanuel A.M.E. because the area because of its deep roots and strong historical ties, he said in a taped confession. It is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal church in the southern U.S. and one of the oldest independent Black congregations in the country.
Eventually he developed and wrote a White supremacist “manifesto” that he put online that speaks of his extreme hatred for Blacks, Jews, Hispanics and others. In his skewed mindset, he defends racism as a logical way of thinking in his belief that Blacks are subhuman.
“Segregation did not exist to hold back negroes,” Roof wrote. “It existed to protect us from them…Not only did it protect us from having to interact with them, and from being physically harmed by them, but it protected us from being brought down to their level.”
That led to Roof purchasing a .45 caliber Glock handgun from a gun dealership called Shooter’s Choice in West Colombia, S.C. Although he denied having used any drugs in the past on a required form, Roof told police in early 2015 that he using a controlled substance illegally, which should have prevented him from buying a gun under federal rules.
The FBI failed to recognize the red flag in Roof’s record and he went on to pass the three-day waiting period to purchase a firearm. On April 16, 2015, he brought the Glock and three magazines. Eleven days later he purchased more magazines. On June 17 he attended a bible study at Mother Emanuel, then opened fire on the unsuspecting attendees as they prayed.
Roof also faces a state trial set for early next year. In that case, he may also face the death penalty.