UPDATE: Dylann Roof has been sentenced to death today. The white supremacist was found unanimously guilty by a 12 person jury (nine white, three black) after about three hours of deliberations.
Dylann Roof offered his own closing statement today in hopes of swaying jurors to a life sentence, instead of the death penalty.
Roof began his final argument by stating he still felt he had to commit the crime he did, saying:
“In my confession to the FBI I told them that I had to do it, and obviously that’s not really true…I didn’t have to do anything. But what I meant when I said that was, I felt like I had to do it, and I still do feel like I had to do it.”
The five minute closing statement then found Roof discussing his interpretation of hate and hatred, offering “Anyone including the prosecution who thinks I’m full of hatred has no idea what real hate is…they don’t know what real hatred looks like. They think they do but they don’t really.”
“I have a right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I’m not sure what good that will do anyway,” Roof concluded. “But what I will say 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.”
Roof orchestrated the massacre that occurred at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston back in June 2015, where he fatally shot nine people and injured one other person. The 22-year-old was found unanimously guilty of 33 counts, including hate crimes and obstruction of the practice of religion, as well as nine murder charges in state court. Roof has been representing himself in court since the penalty phase of the trial began.
Along with Roof’s closing statement came that of Assistant US Attorney Jay Richardson, who reminded the jurors of the testimony and evidence against Roof, including the facts that he attended the church three previous times to scout targets, as well as pulled the trigger “more than 75 times…reloading seven times,” repeatedly shooting his victims.