After three hours of deliberations, a federal jury announced Tuesday afternoon that they have reached a sentencing verdict for Dylann Roof in the June 17, 2015, massacre of nine black church members.
The jury recommends the death penalty for Roof, making him the first person to receive the death penalty for federal hate crimes.
Roof, who has shown no remorse for the killings, said in his confession, “I felt like I had to do it, and I still feel like I had to do it.”
Roof’s family issued the following statement Tuesday after the sentence was read:
“We are Dylann Roof’s family. We will always love Dylann. We will struggle as long as we live to understand why he committed this horrible attack, which caused so much pain to so many good people. We wish to express the grief we feel for the victims of his crimes, and our sympathy to the families he has hurt. We continue to pray for the Emanuel AME families and the Charleston community.”
Roof’s defense team also issued a statement:
“We want to express our sympathy to all of the families who were grievously hurt by Dylann Roof’s actions. Today’s sentencing decision means that this case will not be over for a very long time. We are sorry that, despite our best efforts, the legal proceedings have shed so little light on the reasons for this tragedy.”
A sentencing hearing for Roof is now scheduled for Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.
BREAKING: Dylann Roof sentenced to death for killing 9 black church members; 1st to get death penalty for federal hate crimes.
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 10, 2017
Earlier in the day Tuesday, Roof made the following statement to the jury:
“I think it’s safe to say no one in their right mind wants to go in a church and kill people,” Roof said. “You may remember in my confession I said I had to do it. I guess that’s not really true. I didn’t have to do it, no one made me do it. What I meant when I said that was I felt like I had to do it and I still feel like I had to do it.”
Roof said anyone who hates anything in their mind would have a good reason, adding that sometimes that’s because they have been misled, but sometimes not.
“But I would say in this case, the prosecution and anyone else who hates me are the ones who’ve been misled,” Roof said. “Anyone including the prosecution who thinks I’m full of hatred has no idea what real hate is. They don’t know what real hate looks like. They think they do but they really don’t,” he said.
“I have the right to ask you to give me a life sentence,” he said. “I don’t know what good that would do anyway. All I know is only one of you has to disagree with giving me the death penalty, and during jury selection you were asked if you’d speak up about your opinions. That’s all. Thank you.”
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