A United States jury on Tuesday sentenced to death the white supremacist accused of killing nine African-Americans in a church shooting in South Carolina’s Charleston in June 2015. The Justice Department told The Telegraph that Dylann Roof, 22, was the first convict to get death sentence in a federal court in a hate crime case.
He will also stand trial on a state murder charge, where the prosecutors have sought death penalty for him. The court in December found him guilty of all the 33 federal charges filed against him. During closing arguments, prosecutors in the case had said racial hatred had motivated Roof to kill the parishioners who were attending the proceedings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.
Assistant US Attorney Nathan Williams had said that Roof’s hatred was “cold and calculated”. He represented himself in the case and did not express any remorse for his act. He said he wanted to start a race war.
According to the arrest warrants in the case, Roof entered the church at 8.06 pm and studied the Bible with a prayer group in the church for an hour before opening fire, “striking each victim multiple times.” The warrant also stated that before leaving the Bible study room, Roof made a racially inflammatory statement to a witness.