A state murder trial against a former North Charleston police officer who shot and killed a black man fleeing a traffic stop previous year ended on December 5 in a mistrial after jurors deadlocked. Many families spoke of forgiveness in tearful statements.
Roof, who said he was trying to ignite a race war, admitted to the killings shortly after he was arrested in a videotaped confession. Williams said Thursday that this was a group of predominantly black churches, and "the one that he chose was at the top of his list".
He must now wait until early next year for the penalty phase of the trial, during which the same jury will determine if he will be executed or allowed to live out his life in prison.
The jury took only two hours to convict Roof on all 33 counts.
Roof's defense attorney, David Bruck, attempted to simplify the case in his summation - and paint the 22-year-old as a troubled young loner who had a misguided view of society and had "nowhere to go" - a defense position that leaned slightly toward an insanity defense, although psychological experts declared him mentally competent for trial.
Roof documented the trips with photographs in which he posed in front of historic sites linked to the US South during times of slavery, sometimes wearing a jacket with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
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"Those people couldn't see the hatred in his heart any more than they could see the.45-caliber handgun and the eight magazines concealed around his waist", Williams said.
The defence put up no witnesses.
After the jury was dismissed, Roof calmly told Judge Richard Gergel that he still wishes to represent himself during the sentencing phase.
Sentencing for Roof--where the death penalty will be on the table-will begin on January 3.
Williams' 50-minute closing argument filled the court with tension.
Jurors have convicted Dylann Roof in the Charleston Mother Emmanuel Church massacre. People he would end up later shooting and killing.
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There were three survivors of Roof's attack on Emanuel Church, Felicia Sanders, Polly Sheppard, and Sanders' granddaughter (known only as K.M.to protect the identity of a minor).
She plans a simple gesture to honor her friends the rest of her life. "He said I'm going to leave you to tell the story".
A prosecutor says the goodness of the victims who were slaughtered at a Charleston church has defeated Dylann Roof's message of racial hatred. We will not ever be able to fully thank you for showing us all the true meaning of righteousness, but what we can do is continue working every single day to ensure that the legacy of the Emanuel 9 lives on forever.
"May we never forget the actions those people took to get us to this point today", she said.
Shortly after deliberations began, the jury asked to again watch the video in which Roof confessed to two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents. The church is the oldest in the South and one of its founders Denmark Vesey led a failed 1822 slave rebellion that drove the church underground.
The prosecutor recounted other evidence, like how Roof sat in the church parking lot for 28 minutes in his auto, likely loading the 88 bullets - a number embraced symbolically by white supremacists - into eight magazines. Roof opened fire when the victims' eyes were closed in prayer at the end of the study session. She had spent years in office calling it a settled issue.
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She said that even the Kolkata Police objected for any exercise within 200 meters of the Secretariat, which is a high security zone.
"It is my hope that the survivors, the families and the people of SC can find some peace in the fact that justice has been served", the governor said in a statement.