Prosecutors to seek death penalty for Dylann Roof
September 05, 2015 at 6:00 am
“This is the ultimate crime, and justice from our state calls for the ultimate punishment” said State Solicitor Scarlett Wilson in a news conference following the Thursday court filing.
Roof was indicted in July on nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder for the June 17 massacre at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Roof also faces 33 federal charges for hate crimes and targeting victims based on race, reported CNN.
Since the incident, images of Roof holding Confederate flags and wearing symbolism from apartheid South Africa have emerged, causing public outcry against the emblem of racism, defiance and hatred.
In the days following the initial arrest, Ethel Lance and family members of victims openly forgave Roof, “You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people, but God forgives you, and I forgive you.”
Solicitor Wilson mentioned that many impacted by Roof’s actions were generally against the death penalty.
“Some family members, because of their faith, do not believe in the death penalty under any circumstance. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean forgoing consequences, even severe consequences. All have shown great respect, even deference, for my decision to seek the death penalty,” she stated.
If Roof is found guilty of such heinous acts, a death sentence is still not guaranteed. The jury would have to unanimously vote for capital punishment in a separate phase of the trial. Federal prosecutors have yet to announce if they will seek the death penalty.