During his opening remarks for the sentencing phase of his trial, Dylann Roof told the nine white and three black jurors gathered together at the Federal District Court in Charleston, South Carolina that he was perfectly sane. “There’s nothing wrong with me psychologically,” said Roof, who was convicted by the same jury found him guilty of all 33 charges levied against him. Roof murdered nine people at the city’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the summer of 2015.
Roof, who expressed more concern with how others perceive his psychological wellness than with his guilt or sentencing, chose to represent himself during the sentencing phase on Wednesday. He initially tried to do the same during the trial phase but later changed his mind. “The point is that I’m not going to lie to you,” he told the jury. “Not by myself or through somebody else.”
Nor was the prosecution, which read aloud excerpts from a journal Roof kept following his arrest, going to do so:
“I would like to make it crystal clear I do not regret what I did,” Mr. Roof wrote in the jailhouse journal, which officials seized in August 2015. “I am not sorry. I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed.”
Mr. Roof, who was then 21, continued: “I do feel sorry for the innocent white children forced to live in this sick country and I do feel sorry for the innocent white people that are killed daily at the hands of the lower race. I have shed a tear of self-pity for myself. I feel pity that I had to do what I did in the first place. I feel pity that I had to give up my life because of a situation that should never have existed.”
After finishing the reading, federal prosecutor Nathan Williams told the jury, “The defendant didn’t stop after shooting one person or two or four or five; he killed nine people.” Therefore, he concluded his opening statement, “The death penalty is justified.”
According to the New York Times, the sentencing phase of Roof’s trial is expected to last until sometime next week. Yet with opening statements like these, especially since most of the their content came from Roof himself, the whether or not that will happen remains to be seen.
(Via New York Times)