Dylann Roof Sentenced To Death For Charleston Church Massacre
The jury has reached a verdict in sentencing of the Charleston church killer, Dylann Roof, and have decided that he will be sentenced to the death penalty.
In his closing argument Tuesday morning, Assistant US Attorney Jay Richardson described the lives of all nine victims, cited Roof's "racist hatred" and reminded the jurors of the testimony and evidence that convicted him:
• Roof was at the church three previous times to scout his target.
• He sat with the group for 40 minutes before shooting.
• He pulled the trigger "more than 75 times ... reloading seven times" as he stood over his victims, shooting them repeatedly.
• He "showed not one ounce of remorse."
• Richardson referred to what Roof had told investigators in a recorded interview: That "somebody had to do it," in part because "black people are killing white people every day."
"Those are the words of an extraordinary racist who believed it was justified," Richardson said.
Earlier in the penalty phase, prosecutors presented evidence that included chilling writings from a jailhouse journal Roof wrote after the attack.
"I would like to make it crystal clear. I do not regret what I did," Roof wrote in the journal. "I am not sorry. I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed."
Friends and relatives of victims slain in the shooting gave emotional testimony in court before Tuesday, some of them sobbing on the stand.
As they made their case, prosecutors played haunting recordings of the victims preaching, praying and singing.
Roof is also set to be tried on state murder charges, and prosecutors have said they'll also seek the death penalty in that case.
Serial killer Gary Lee Sampson was the last person to get a federal death sentence. He's one of 63 federal prisoners, including Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, awaiting execution, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington-based nonprofit.
Only three federal inmates have been executed in the United States since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988 after a 16-year moratorium:
• Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh on June 11, 2001, six years after he killed 168 people.
• Juan Raul Garza on June 19, 2001, eight years after he was convicted of running a marijuana drug ring and killing three people.
• Louis Jones on March 18, 2003, eight years after he kidnapped and murdered 19-year-old Army Pvt. Tracie McBride.