Dylann Roof Found Guilty in Charleston Church Massacre
Dylann Roof was found guilty on 33 counts in the mass shooting of nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015. The jury will reconvene on January 3 to determine if Roof will be put to death or go to prison for life.
The admitted white supremacist had already confessed to the killings of the nine black parishioners, which he said he committed in an attempt to start a race war. The jury, consisting of nine white and three black members, deliberated for just two hours before reaching its decision.
The church where Roof perpetrated this massacre, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, is a historic symbol of black religious life in the south. This is one of the reasons Roof selected it as the site of his crimes.
During closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams emphasized the church setting in his appeal to convict Roof:
In that moment, a man of immense hatred walked that room shooting person after person after person, stopping only so he could reload more magazines and kill more people. It was an act of tremendous cowardice, shooting people as they have their eyes closed in prayer, shooting them on the ground.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley released a statement after the verdict’s announcement, saying, “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.”