Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who previously confessed to murdering nine churchgoers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., on June 17, 2015, was found guilty Thursday after an eight day trial in a Charleston federal court.
Roof had been charged with 33 counts of hate crimes, obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death, obstruction of exercise of religion involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon and use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Following a hearing to determine his competency for trial, Roof requested and was granted the right to pro se representation. Roof later had legal representation restored.
Although evidence pointing to his guilt was overwhelming, three days into the trial prosecutors played a tape of Roof’s confession in which he admitted to the killings, laughing in his admission.
FBI witnesses to the confession testified Roof expressed no emotion or remorse when admitting to the mass murder.
“Somebody had to do something because, you know, black people are killing white people every day on the street, and they’re raping white women,” Roof said to the FBI interviewers.
Following the verdict, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley released a statement which read:
“It is my hope that the survivors, the families and the people of South Carolina can find some peace in the fact that justice has been served.”
Roof will return to the courtroom on Jan. 3, 2017 for sentencing. In the sentencing phase of his federal trial, Roof has declined to use his mental health history as a factor for jurors to weigh for his sentence.
Roof’s state trial on murder charges begins in 2017.
[Reuters] [The Hill] [Photo courtesy Grace Beahm/Pool via New York Times]