Mass murderer Dylan Roof’s death penalty conviction upheld!
A three-judge panel denied the 27-year-old’s request to have his conviction overturned on Wednesday, August 25.
In his appeal, Roof’s lawyer argued that he shouldn’t have been allowed to represent himself during his sentencing trial.
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals declared the trial judge did not commit an error when he found the self-professed white supremacist competent to stand trial. The panel issued a stern statement on Roof’s heinous hate crime.
“Dylann Roof murdered African Americans at their church, during their Bible-study and worship. They had welcomed him. He slaughtered them," the panel wrote in their ruling, according to the AP. “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.”
The judges continued: “No cold record or careful parsing of statutes and precedents can capture the full horror of what Roof did. His crimes qualify him for the harshest penalty that a just society can impose.”
Roof was sentenced to death in January 2017 for the horrific June 2015 mass murders of nine Black men and women in a racially-motivated attack on a church in Charleston, South Carolina, when he was 21.
The self-claimed neo-Nazi sat with members of the historically Black church during their bible study before opening fire during the closing prayer.
During closing arguments at his trial, the convicted killer pleaded to the jury to save his life. “I felt like I had to do it, and I still feel like I had to do it,” he told the courtroom. “From what I’ve been told, I have a right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I’m not sure what good that will do anyway. But what I will say is only one of you has to disagree with the other jurors.”
His death penalty verdict was unanimous. Roof became the first person in the U.S. to ever be sentenced to death for a federal hate crime.