On Thursday, it took a jury less than two hours to deliver a guilty verdict for Dylann Roof on each of the thirty-three federal charges that he faced in connection with the shooting deaths of multiple African Americans at a historically black church. This was the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church that’s located in Charleston, South Carolina.
The evidence against Roof was pretty substantial, since the prosecutors were able to show the jury a video-taped confession where Roof admitted to two FBI agents that he committed the crime. He even admitted that he was probably a “white supremacist” as well, which is what made his criminal act a federal hate crime in the first place.
The 22-year-old Roof now enters the trial’s next phase, which is the sentencing hearing that’s been scheduled for January. A jury at the sentencing hearing will get to decide if Roof should spend the rest of his life in prison or if he should be put to death. When Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Williams spoke to the jury, he told them that Roof “needs to be held accountable for every bullet.”
Family members of many of the victims were crying and sobbing as Williams talked about Roof’s hatred and how he attacked the victims when they were most vulnerable. And with all the evidence piled up against Roof, including a video of his own confession, it is hard to fathom why he pleaded not guilty in the first place. During the trial, his defense attorneys did not call a single witness nor did they have Roof take the stand in his own defense. They literally just had an opening and closing statement to give and that was it.
Hopefully, Roof’s conviction will bring some closure to this terrible event that claimed the lives of nine good people.