The defense for convicted racist murderer Dylann Roof, 27, is trying to vacate his conviction and, failing that, his death sentence. Court is scheduled for 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday. You can watch in the player above.
Roof, convicted in both state and federal courts for the 2015 mass murder at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, served as his own attorney in the sentencing phase of the federal case but did not do anything to save himself from the death penalty.
“I have the right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I’m not sure what good it would do anyway,” Roof told jurors at the time. “I still feel like I had to do it.”
He voiced no sympathy for taking the lives of Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49, Cynthia Hurd, 54, Susie Jackson, 87, Ethel Lance, 70, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41, Tywanza Sanders, 26, Rev. Daniel Simmons, 74, and Myra Thompson, 59. On the contrary, jailhouse recordings with his family a year after the shooting purportedly showed that he said that if victims’ relatives were upset, they should get over it.
Each of the victims were Black. Roof was motivated by an intense racism.
His current defense team is making a mental health argument. The court mistakenly found Roof competent even though defense experts “agreed Roof suffered a delusional belief he would be rescued by the victors of a race-war, which prevented him from understanding the threat of execution was real,” the defense said in a filing obtained by the Associated Press.
[Screengrab of Roof (center) via Grace Beahm-Pool/Getty Images]
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