A US appeals court on Wednesday confirmed the death sentence of Dylann Roof, the white gunman convicted of killing nine black worshipers at a South Carolina church in 2015.
Armed with a .45 caliber pistol, Roof fired 77 rounds in his firefight at the historic Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on June 17, 2015.
Roof, who was 21 at the time, “murdered African Americans in his church during his Bible study and worship. They welcomed him. He slaughtered them,” said part of the court’s decision.
Roof, now 27, is not at risk of execution in the short term, as the government of US President Joe Biden has imposed a moratorium on federal executions.
As stated in a racist manifesto, Roof’s aim was to “foster racial division and conflict” across the country.
“No cold record or careful analysis of statutes and precedents can capture all the horror of what Roof did. His crimes qualify him for the most severe penalty that a just society can impose”, says the decision.
The Mother Church Emmanuel AME massacre “is one of the worst events not only in South Carolina history, but also in our country’s history,” said Nathan Williams, a lead prosecutor in the case at the Carolina US Attorney’s office. southern.
Roof was convicted in early 2017 without having expressed regret or apology.
His lawyers appealed the conviction on the grounds that Roof should not have represented himself at the trial – an argument that the appellate court did not convince.