Photo courtesy of the New York Times
Murderer Dylann Roof Pleads Gets Nine Life Sentences
Photo of Dylann Roof courtesy of the New York Times.
Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who walked into a black church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015 and gunned down nine people, pleaded guilty to state murder charges on Monday afternoon.
Roof was sentenced to nine consecutive life sentences in state prison. The plea deal reached saves the family of victims the heartache of going through another grueling trial. Also, according to state prosecutor Scarlett Wilson, the deal serves as an "insurance policy" in case something goes wrong with the federal conviction and sentencing.
Three months ago, Roof was sentenced to death by a federal jury on 33 counts.
We've known for a while that Roof was planning on pleading guilty. Wilson was originally pursuing the death penalty for the murder charges, but she then decided to accept the guilty plea instead. A couple of weeks ago she said:
“As I told you towards the end of a trial and in other updates, at this point, our goal is to provide an insurance policy to the federal conviction and sentence. The most effective way to do that is to secure a guilty plea for a life sentence and get the defendant into federal custody... The goal is to get him into federal custody so their sentence can be imposed.”
Roof did not have a lot to say other than "guilty." This is quite the difference from his five-minute closing statement during the federal trial where he showed no contrition:
“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.”