Charleston, SC (WLTX) – A federal jury sentenced has convicted killer and white supremacist Dylann Roof to death for murdering nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
The jury deliberated for just under three hours Tuesday before coming to a decision. A judge will formally affirm the decision at a hearing Wednesday morning. During that time, the families of the victims will be allowed to address Roof directly.
In a statement emailed to reporters after the announcement, Roof’s relatives said they will “struggle as long as we live” to understand why he killed the victims. The relatives, who have not returned to court since the start of his trial, “express the grief we feel for the victims of his crimes, and our sympathy to the many families he has hurt.”
Hours earlier, Roof , dressed in a blue sweater, did not ask for forgiveness in his final statement to the jury, and did not ask the jury to give him the life sentence for his mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME back in June of 2015.
“I felt like I had to do it and I still feel like I had to do it,” Roof told the jury of the church shooting he carried out.
He also said during his short closing statement that the prosecution and anyone else who hated him was “misled.”
“They don’t know what real hatred looks like,” Roof said to the jury.
Roof also told the jury that he’s been told it was his right to ask for the life sentence but said he didn’t know what good that would do.
Prosecutor Jay Richardson passionately expressed to the jury for about two hours why Roof deserved the death penalty.
“You’ve heard how after they started that Bible study, they welcomed a 13th person that night,” Richardson said.
Richardson started off by telling the jury how the worshippers were studying Mark 4 the night of June 17, 2015.