Dylann Roof, the 22-year-old who shot and killed 9 African Americans who were praying in a South Carolina church, has been sentenced to death, a jury has announced.
He has become the first person in US history to receive a federal death penalty for hate crimes.
Roof travelled to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where he proceeded to sit alongside those in attendance, listening to their prayers and sermons. He then, following a disagreement on scriptures, murdered 9 praying African-American churchgoers with a hang gun on June 17, 2015.
The young killer was arrested a day later, on the 18th, in a peaceful operation which saw Roof surrender. He confessed to his crimes straight away, and refused legal representation throughout the subsequent legal proceedings. Legal commentators believe it was Roof’s goal to obtain the death penalty for his crimes.
The victims of the attack, which shook the country and the world, numbered 6 females and 3 females, including 87-year-old Susie Jackson and her 26-year-old grandnephew, Tywanza Sanders.
The jury deliberated for nearly 3 hours to reach the verdict, before of which Roof stated: “I felt like I had to do it and I still feel like I had to do it”.
After the sentence was announced, Dylann Roof stood up and requested to receive new lawyers, before demanding a retrial.
The official sentence will be given by the judge on Wednesday morning.
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