Dylann Roof Found Guilty In Federal Court Trial
To nobody's surprise, Dylann Roof was convicted of the race-motivated murders in a Charleston church.
Not at all surprisingly, Dylann Roof has found guilty by a Federal District Court jury in the shootings at a historically African-American church in South Carolina:
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Dylann S. Roof, a self-radicalized young white supremacist who killed nine black parishioners last year when he opened fire during a long-planned assault on Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, was found guilty by a federal jury here on Thursday.
Mr. Roof, 22, stood, his hands at his side and his face emotionless, as a clerk read the verdict aloud in Federal District Court, where he had been charged with 33 counts, including hate crimes resulting in death.
Mr. Roof, whose lawyers conceded his guilt, will face the same jurors when they gather on Jan. 3 to begin a more suspenseful phase of his trial to decide whether he will be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.
The jury deliberated for only about two hours on Thursday afternoon, and as a clerk began to read the guilty verdicts, one after the next, a few women in the courtroom nodded with satisfaction. After the court adjourned, the two adult survivors of the attack, Felicia Sanders and Polly Sheppard, shared a long embrace.
“I wasn’t expecting anything less,” Ms. Sanders told reporters later. “I knew it was going to be guilty, guilty, guilty, all the way through.”
Ms. Sanders’s husband, Tyrone, called Mr. Roof “pure evil” as he held his wife’s hand.
“My thoughts were if I could get to him, what would I do,” said Mr. Sanders, whose son died in the attack. “But the Lord kept me from charging.”
The outcome seemed a foregone conclusion from the first minutes of the trial, which began on Dec. 7 and included a swift acknowledgment from the chief defense lawyer, David I. Bruck, that Mr. Roof was responsible for the “astonishing, horrible attack” on June 17, 2015.
Mr. Roof had chillingly confessed to investigators nearly 18 months earlier and revealed his purpose in a blatantly racist manifesto that he published online. His choice of targets seemed intensely premeditated — he scouted the church half a dozen times — although he also researched other black churches and a festival elsewhere in South Carolina before settling on Charleston because, he wrote, it is the “most historic city in my state.”
Prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed on the basic contours of Mr. Roof’s march toward racial animosity. He belonged to no hate groups and acted alone in Charleston, but they said he had been an avid consumer of racist materials online.
“You can easily give him way too much credit for thinking of this stuff if you don’t see where it came from,” Mr. Bruck said of Mr. Roof, who had declared in his writings that he had not been “raised in a racist home or environment.”
In a 53-minute closing argument, an assistant United States attorney, Nathan S. Williams, depicted Mr. Roof as “a man of hatred, a man who’s proven to be a coward and a man of immense racial ignorance.”
The prosecutor’s voice often rose in outrage, and the jurors were again shown photographs of the carnage Mr. Roof left behind: blood, bodies, and bullet-scarred tables. “He must be held accountable for each and every action he took in that church,” Mr. Williams urged.
Mr. Roof has said he intends to represent himself during the penalty phase, so Mr. Bruck, as he has done throughout the trial, did his best on Thursday to suggest that his client was unstable, and thus not fully accountable.
Mr. Bruck, who called no witnesses, peppered his closing argument with words like “abnormal,” “delusional,” and “suicidal.” Mr. Roof told the F.B.I. in a confession shortly after being arrested that he had saved ammunition to kill himself if, as he expected, he confronted the police when he left Emanuel.
The Wednesday night assault on the oldest A.M.E. congregation in the South began less than an hour after Mr. Roof entered through an unlocked side door and took a seat at a weekly Bible study meeting. The congregants, including the church’s pastor, the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, were studying the parable of the sower. When the congregants closed their eyes for a familiar benediction, the sound of gunfire roared through the fellowship hall.
When they looked up, they saw Mr. Roof holding a semiautomatic pistol he had bought about two months earlier and concealed in a pack on his waist. Mr. Pinckney was the first wounded, and the churchgoers began diving below the room’s circular tables. Mr. Roof kept firing, striking the victims at least 60 times. One photo showed a table bearing an opened Bible, a study sheet and an empty magazine.
It was one of the most unfathomable racial attacks in decades, and it upended the notion of a postracial America that some had imagined after the election of the country’s first black president. But fears of street violence eased when family members of five victims appeared at Mr. Roof’s bond hearing less than 48 hours after the killings and expressed forgiveness for the accused. President Obama flew here for Mr. Pinckney’s memorial service and delivered a eulogy in the form of an indignant and sorrowful meditation on race.
Given Roof’s confession and the evidence against him, there was never any real doubt that he would be found guilty of the underlying charges against him, of course. Much like previous cases, such as the Boston Marathon bombing and the shootings at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, the Defendant’s guilt here was exceedingly clear and, as in those cases, the defense didn’t do much to question the prosecution case based on the reports I’ve read. Indeed, the guilt phase of the trial was so short largely thanks to the fact that the defense declined to engage in much rigorous cross-examination during and that it declined to call any witnesses of its own. In most murder cases, of course, this is a highly unusual step, but this is unlike most murder cases in many respects, not the least of them being the fact that there was never any real doubt about Roof’s doubt or of the appropriateness of first-degree murder charges given the facts of the case.
As I’ve said before, though, the trial in this case has never been about whether or not Dylann Roof was guilty or innocent. We already know the answer to that question. The main purpose of the trial is to determine whether he will be put to death for his crimes, or sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. That question will be decided in the sentencing phase of this case, which will apparently begin shortly after the holidays end at the start of the new year rather than starting immediately after the trial as is often the case in state court. In that part of the case, the same jury that determined Roof’s guilt will sit through what could end up being many weeks of testimony by victims and the surviving family members of those who died regarding the impact that Roof’s actions have had on them over the past 18 months. They will also likely hear from psychiatrists and other professionals who have spoken to Roof regarding his mental state, an important factor in determining an appropriate sentence. The one factor that could make this portion of the case go less smoothly than the guilt phase is the fact that the Defendant has said he wishes to represent himself in this phase of the trial. The Court, of course, had previously granted Roof’s request to represent himself prior to the start of the trial, but Roof ultimately decided that he wanted his court-appointed attorneys to represent him in the guilt phase of the trial even though they ultimately ended up not doing very much. So far, though, Roof is clinging to his insistence that he would represent himself during the sentencing phase. This seems like a foolish decision if he wants to avoid the death penalty, but of course he may not care about that and may instead view the sentencing phase to push his racist ideas in open court. In any case, unless the defense presents some rather convincing mitigating evidence, my expectation is that it’s likely that Roof will be sentenced to death.
If the goal is revenge life without parole is the tastier option. A young white racist in a federal prison for what could easily be fifty years? That is brutal. A quick needle is the easy way out.
I’m opposed to the death penalty solely on grounds of irreversibility, and given that in this case there is simply zero question about his guilt, I don’t object to him being executed. But that won’t be the best revenge.
A life sentence, no parole.
I favor a lock-up – in isolation – at a maximum security prison (one similar to Pelican Bay in California)
Hang the bastard. Publicly.
Don’t give the stinking bigots a martyr.
The lord giveth and the lord taketh away.
I could not possibly care less about that if I tried.
Of course, the same treatment is prescribed for jihadis, BLM types, and anyone else involved with murder.
Eventually, martyrdom becomes less attractive
Roof thought that in some circumstances it was OK to kill. The message the death penalty sends is that society agrees.
Good news for Roof, though, is that he’s still in the running to head up the civil rights division of the Trump justice department.
This guy is a hero to abject racists like Florack.
@Eric Florack: Of course, the same treatment is prescribed for jihadis, BLM types, and anyone else involved with murder.
BLM types? Please show us the multiple homicides attributable to the “BLM types”?
Oh yeah, you must be from the school of BLM=KKK. Because BLM types have been engaging in systemic terrorizing of American society, lynching and burning the homes of their targets.
@C. Clavin: since I’ve stated I want him home, how in the world do you figure that?
Must be that Lefty logic peeking through again
In theory, with a sentence of LWoP, Roof could at some point apply for executive clemency. It’s hard–at this point anyway–to see him getting a pardon, though.
@Eric Florack: do you have reputable sources? NY Times, Washington Post, AP, Reuters…
Something where the conclusions are supported by evidence, as opposed to the flights of fancy of the right wing fever swamp?
I remain opposed to the death penalty, even with this idiot kid.
He probably deserves death, but the government and the people should not be in the business of killing people who pose no immediate threat.
Prison seems to be the only environment where a young white racist murderer like Roof can not only survive, but actually thrive.
We should just remove him from this earth, and if we’re too squeamish to kill him (the easiest and most effective option), we should launch him in a rocket with no life support.
Anyone can look at your website, search the “n” word…and see what you are all about, you ignorant racist bastard.
Posting links to “sources” such as Zero Hedge and Front Page Mag is a cry for help.
Links from sources like that are only informative to the extent that they tell us quite a bit about the person who would post such drivel, and what it says isn’t good.
Roof would survive only by seeking the protection of an aryan gang. That protection may or may not be extended to Roof – keeping him alive would be a challenge and could upset other deals and arrangements.
If one of the gangs does extend its protection that will come at a steep price to Roof. In general population Roof could expect to be raped and beaten – and that’s from his own ‘side.’ What a black gang would do would be worse. At the very least he will never know a moment without fear or subjugation.
Death is the only escape for Roof. Life will be decades of fear and humiliation.
The white gang.will want to protect him for the sake of the symbolism of the whole thing.
But he doesn’t look like a tough guy, either, so he is likely to end up becoming somebody’s girlfriend.
@CSK: ” It’s hard–at this point anyway–to see him getting a pardon, though.”
Unless he proclaims that Donald Trump is a great businessman and a greater president, and his hair is really cool. Apparently you can get anything out of him that way…
At the toughest maximum security joint in my state, when a dandelion like Roof is brought in, the inmates line up and sing “Here comes the bride.”
@michael reynolds: “fear and humiliation”
Unless he does get that Cabinet gig, in which case it’ll be just humiliation.
@C. Clavin: maybe you ought to try actually reading the Articles involved. Somehow I think that level of understanding is out of your league.
@Pch101: so you’d rather I sourced the New York Times? Please. Spare me.
@Pch101: so you’d rather I sourced the New York Times? Please. Spare me.
I have exceedingly low expectations for you, so there is no risk that you will disappoint me.
I expect conservatives to read trash because it tells you the nonsense that you want to hear. If you could handle the truth, then you wouldn’t be a right-winger.
You mean like the one where you call Obama a house-“n”?
You can try to rationalize your bigotry all you want…it doesn’t change that you are an old ignorant racist fool.
@al-Ameda: Nah, isolation at a MaxSec doesn’t give anybody the chance to beat on him. (This is why I’m trying to not listen to the voice of my inner sociopath.)
@C. Clavin: …who would favor a public execution despite the alleged hero worship. hmmm…
I’m wary of arguments that attempt to argue that life in prison is worse than the death penalty because in prison you get solitary confinement (which is tantamount to torture) or you’ll get beat up or raped, which are still criminal offenses even in prison, and whose continued existence in our prisons is a sign of an unjust system rather than a just one.
I can understand not wanting to kill anyone. But I’m not about to tout the virtues of prison rape/assault or the benefits of torturing people in solitary confinement as worthy alternatives.
No, just cull the condemned.
I simply stated a fact: Guys like Roof end up being raped in prison.
@C. Clavin: are you really this idiotic?
@Gustopher: so are you willing to dispute the police reports links within the articles? For that matter did you even read them?
Yet another reason that I’m trying not to listen to my inner sociopath. But one can make an argument that in some cases simple execution at least seems too merciful.
@Pch101: That’s not actually a fact. It’s more of a myth.
Guys like Roof are put into protective custody so they are not raped.
White liberals: endorsing death for Jihadis, excusing civilian collateral deaths of the war on terror; but wanting mercy for White domestic Terrorists.
And I’m supposed to be afraid of Trump….smh
@Jim Brown 32: Thank you, Mr. Concern Troll. We can always count on you for some phony expression of disapproval of something.
No. Thank you for proving my point.
Black “concern” that a strong message be sent to the White supremacist community and to those would idolize Roof over the course of a life imprisonment = concern trolling.
Congratulations, you found (yet) another misapplication of a new buzzword you’ve become infatuated with.
@michael reynolds: Supermax would be perfect for him.
No offense, but between trusting your not-so-expert opinion and research from groups such as Human Rights Watch, I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to the latter.
Dude, as a former fugitive with a professional-level imagination, let me assure you that I am not endorsing in any way the vicious nature of American prisons. Our prison system is a national disgrace. Just stating facts. Roof is not a big, tough guy: if they put him in general population he’s bent over or he’s dead.
@Jim Brown 32:
Do you believe that the life of a jihadi is precisely as valuable to you and to your country, as your own? Because I’m not sure what a nation is that does not consider the lives of its own people ahead of those from other countries whose governments presumably feel the same. Kind of the idea of a nation-state, isn’t it?
@Eric Florack: Honestly, I make no judgement as to any of the alleged facts reported by the sites you linked to. They do not have a reputation of particular truthfulness even in regards to basic provable facts. Are there police reports? Who can tell when they are cited by charlatains and frauds.
And then there is the matter of the conclusions and inferences that they draw from those alleged facts.
And so, I would ask again, are there reputable sources that reflect the same information and conclusions?
@Gustopher: obviously when a cop dies on duty there are reports. I mean come on how hard is this? And the sites that I listed are indeed reputable. Have been for a long time.
And let’s not hear about fake news… unless you’d care to make excuses for the undeniable bilge that places like the New York Times have been offering up for years
Kinda bad form to cite evidence from a guy who’s for years had the nickname “The Stupidest Man on the Internet.”
This is just pure anti-intellectualism. It’s just Trumpism distilled down to its essence. I’m sure he’s a Global Warming denier, and thinks Republicans will cut spending. It’s not really about specific claims or verifiable facts. It’s just yelling Liberals Are Wrong! I didn’t come from no monkey! We need to build a big wall! They took Are Jobs!
broad-spectrum Reality Denial.
I used to live in RTP NC. What’s happening in the south is scary. Old white people are just deciding to nakedly abuse power.
They really shouldn’t do that.
@Eric Florack: Those are not actually reputable sites.
There are a lot of places to get news that have a general modicum of truth, with either a left or right slant to the commentary, but those are not among them. They do no independent news gathering, nor do they actually verify anything that they publish.
I won’t defend the New York Times — I think they failed in this election cycle, and they failed in the runup to the second gulf war, both times setting a false narrative in the national media with disasterous consequences. They do a lot of real journalism, but they do too much to maintain access (Judith Miller’s work was appalling) and their judgement has been poor this year (assuming Clinton would win, and giving only a passing look at Trump’s conflicts of interests, or the Russian hacking, because they didn’t think it would matter). That said, I would trust them over frontpagemag.com or thegatewaypundit.com.
Reuters, AP and Bloomberg do decent reporting with a modest rightwards bias. Do they have anything that supports the conclusions of your articles?
If news is real, it is going to appear from a variety of sources — often with different inferences and conclusions drawn from the facts. I don’t think it is unreasonable to reject “information” coming from the fringes. So, again, I would ask, do you have citations from reasonable, mainstream news organizations that support the basic facts and conclusions drawn from them?
@michael reynolds: This nation has never considered anyone darker than George Hamilton as one of its ‘own people”. Hence why people here want to bomb the sh%t out of the country of origin of foreign terrorist–but are full of rationalizations to spare white domestic ones.
If this was a black terrorist he never would have even made it to court. He would have “charged” the apprehending officers or made a “furtive” move necessitating him to be shot 100 times.
Roof showed no mercy to innocent peaceful people who welcomed him into their midst–he deserves none himself. Ideology be damned. The should strap the Terrorist that killed Walter Scott in cold blood on the gurney next to him.
@michael reynolds: the only thing wrong with the death penalty is the endless appeals process/expense. throwing a loser like this into gen-pop would be a much better alternative, but our lame system feels he still has rights and needs protection…..what a system.
@bill: Don’t listen to your inner sociopath; he’ll only lead you astray.
Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone.
@dxq: so intellectualism is equal to leftist politics?
@Gustopher: we supposedly she would prefer that I referred to… are these the same sources that are firmly convinced the Russians hacked the elections?
So it’s the official opinion of the Human Rights Watch, based on “research,” that Dylan Roof is going to end up as, how’d you put it, someone’s girlfriend?
Seems that is less based on research and fact, and more on old stereotypes.
@Jim Brown 32: “Congratulations, you found (yet) another misapplication of a new buzzword you’ve become infatuated with.”
It’s not a new buzzword — or even buzz phrase, which would be the accurate description. It’s as old and tired as your schtick. I keep waiting for you to start with Phil Hendrie’s “As a black man and a black journalist,” but I guess that would require a sense of humor.
Short version: I don’t believe you are who or what you claim to be, I don’t think you actually have anything resembling a point of view (other than “annoy people”) and this act has worn out its welcome. Come back in your next incarnation.
@Eric Florack: I reject your sources, and your torturing of the English language. I honestly have no idea what you were trying to write.
Quite simply, you would not accept the Village Voice as a source, since it has such a strong bias. Where they have had good reporting, other, more neutral outlets have picked it up and checked it over, removed the lice, etc.
Your sources are further from the mainstream than the Village Voice. Your sources are not to be trusted on conclusions they make from facts, or even the alleged facts themselves.
I’m sure that the prisons on Planet Pearce are just fine.
Unfortunately, the prison system here in the United States fall short of the criminal justice utopia that exists in your distant galaxy.
Hey, the smug guy with dumb arguments finally spelled my name right.