Dylann Roof, the 22-year-old convicted of murdering nine unarmed black people in church group in Charleston, South Carolina, last year has been sentenced to death.


After finding Roof guilty of 33 federal crimes, including the murders, jurors began deliberations on Tuesday about whether he should receive the death penalty or life in prison. The 12 jurors took about two hours to decide and the decision was unanimous. If the decision had been split, Roof would have been given a life sentence automatically.

“We want to express our sympathy to all of the families who were so grievously hurt by Dylann Roof’s actions. Today’s sentencing decision means that this case will not be over for a very long time,” said Roof’s defense in a statement. “We are sorry that, despite our best efforts, the legal proceedings have shed so little light on the reasons for this tragedy.”

Following the decision, Roof’s family also released a statement. It read: “We will always love Dylann. We will struggle as long as we live to understand why he committed this horrible attack, which caused so much pain to so many good people. We wish to express the grief we feel for the victims of his crimes, and our sympathy to the many families he has hurt. We continue to pray for the Emanuel AME families and the Charleston community.”

During the trial, Roof, as his own attorney, read off a statement he had written, but it did not exactly beg for his life as one would expect. “I have the right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I’m not sure what good it would do anyway,” he said, though also noted that only one had to disagree in order for him to live. He also said, during his five minute speech, that “I still feel like I had do it,” though he still has given very little reasoning behind his vicious actions. “Anyone who hates anything in their mind has a good reason for it,” he said. In his confession months ago, Roof admitted that he wished to being back segregation and start a race war.

During his trial, Roof offered no evidence in his defense, nor any witnesses. He never asked forgiveness or for mercy. “No verdict can bring back the nine we lost that day at Mother Emanuel,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the statement of verdict. “And no verdict can heal the wounds of the five church members who survived the attack or the souls of those who lost loved ones to Roof’s callous hand. But we hope that the completion of the prosecution provides the people of Charleston – and the people of our nation – with a measure of closure.”

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