Fed­eral jury sen­tences Dy­lann Roof to death

Pros­e­cu­tor de­scribes ‘ cold and cal­cu­lated’ ac­tions in mas­sacre at church in 2015

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Tonya Maxwell and Tim Smith

A fed­eral dis­trict court jury sen­tenced Dy­lann Roof to death Tues­day for his at­tack in June 2015 on a black church’s Bi­ble study group that left nine peo­ple dead.

The ju­rors took very lit­tle time to make their de­ci­sion after clos­ing ar­gu­ments. Roof, 22, looked down and shuf­fled pa­pers as U. S. Dis­trict Judge Richard Gergel read the death sen­tence.

The 10 women and two men found that all ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tors that As­sis­tant U. S. At­tor­ney Jay Richard­son out­lined ap­plied and re­jected some mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors, such as Roof’s age or lack of pre­vi­ous felony con­vic­tions.

Roof asked about fil­ing a mo­tion for a new trial.

The judge said he will for­mally sen­tence the self- de­scribed white su­prem­a­cist Wed­nes­day though he is bound by the jury’s ver­dict.

Roof was found guilty last month of 33 fed­eral counts in his at­tack June 17, 2015, on Emanuel African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church, many of them based on hate crimes.

Richard­son be­gan the gov­ern­ment’s clos­ing state­ments Tues­day by tak­ing ju­rors through tes­ti­mony show­ing Roof’s “cold and cal­cu­lated” ac­tions that led to a “race- based mas­sacre.”

After de­scrib­ing a peace­ful gath­er­ing of the vic­tims at Emanuel for the Bi­ble study, he talked about the hor­rific shoot­ings, what Richard­son said were me­thod­i­cal ex­e­cu­tions.

He then re­viewed the lives of each of the nine vic­tims, telling ju­rors that tes­ti­mony gave a win­dow into the good­ness in each.

Richard­son called Roof “an ex­tra­or­di­nary racist.” The shoot­ings, he said, were “cal­cu­lated, mis­guided but thought­ful.”

“He spent years ac­quir­ing this deep ha­tred,” the pros­e­cu­tor said.

He said Roof tar­geted the church and the Bi­ble study be­cause it would have the most im­pact in mak­ing a racist state­ment.

“He chose to tar­get them, know­ing they would be par­tic­u­larly good peo­ple,” he said.

AP

Dy­lann Roof

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