Court Upholds Dylann Roof’s Death Sentence
Dylann Roof’s death sentence has reportedly been upheld.
USA Today reports the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Roof’s appeal, which began in January 2020. The 27-year-old white supremacist was convicted of gunning down nine Black perisioners at a Charleston church in 2015.
Roof argued he had schizophrenia and suffered from other psychological disorders. During his appeal, his attorneys argued he was wrongfully allowed to represent himself during sentencing. Roof successfully prevented jurors from hearing evidence about his mental health, “under the delusion,” his attorneys argued, that “he would be rescued from prison by white-nationalists — but only, bizarrely, if he kept his mental-impairments out of the public record.”
Roof was found guilty of killing nine people inside Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston during a Bible study on June 17, 2015. In 2017, he became the first person in the U.S. sentenced to death for a federal hate crime.
The 4th Circuit found the trial judge did not commit an error when he found Roof competent to stand trial.
“Dylann Roof murdered African Americans at their church, during their Bible-study and worship,” the panel wrote in its ruling. “They had welcomed him. He slaughtered them. He did so with the express intent of terrorizing not just his immediate victims at the historically important Mother Emanuel Church, but as many similar people as would hear of the mass murder.”
On Wednesday (August 25), the appeals court stated the conclusion came as a result of a “thorough analytical process” and not as a “product of emotion.”
“No cold record or careful parsing of statutes and precedents can capture the full horror of what Roof did,” the opinion states. “His crimes qualify him for the harshest penalty that a just society can impose.”