New court documents reveal that Dylann Roof, the man found guilty of shooting and killing nine people at a Charleston church in 2015, had plans to target another church too.
Global Positioning System evidence showed Roof got off the interstate and drove toward Branch AME church in Jedburg after the church shooting, according to unsealed court documents on Tuesday, reported by WCIV. There, he turned off his Global Positioning System for several minutes, which prosecutors say suggests he sat there contemplating another attack.
The pastor of Branch AME, Rev. Rufus Berry, said he canceled Bible study that night because he was late getting off from his regular job.
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Roof must still face a death penalty trial in state court, which was postponed during his federal trial and has not been rescheduled.
They noted similarities between Emanuel AME and Branch AME, as both churches have predominantly black congregations and held Bible studies on Wednesday nights. One survivor of the shooting said Roof put his gun to his head and pulled the trigger - but there were no bullets. "Presumably this is why the prosecution formally withdrew its previously stated intention to present any evidence about the Branch AME Church, and never mentioned it at trial". He told them that he considered several targets including a "black festival" before deciding to attack Emanuel AME.
"The fact that an AME church happened to be nearby as this was occurring does not prove or imply that Roof planned a second attack. They think they do but they don't really", Roof added.
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But prosecutors argued there is "no commercial activity on the road where Branch AME is located that would otherwise prompted Defendant to stop at that location", in court documents.
During Roof's trial, prosecutors showed jurors a list of black churches in SC that investigators had found in a backpack in his auto after his arrest.
Roof, 22, was sentenced to death last month in a federal trial for the 2015 massacre in Charleston, South Carolina.
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