On the evening of June 17, 2015, nine parishioners, including the pastor, were violently murdered at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. The next day, Dylann Storm Roof was arrested between 10-11 a.m. in Shelby, North Carolina, and charged with nine counts of murder.
The menacing 22-year-old, who when arrested sported a Justin Bieber-ish haircut, has made it clear to authorities that he is not mentally ill. He is representing himself at the sentencing phase of his highly awaited and publicized trial following his December 2016 conviction of 33 federal crimes. He faces death (electric chair or lethal injection) or spending his entire life in prison.
On Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2016, he told the jury, “I’m not going to lie to you. I trust people I shouldn’t but other than that, there’s nothing wrong with me psychologically.
“In that case my self representation accomplishes nothing. So you can say what’s the point?”
He wants the jury to throw out suggestions that he is mentally unfit. Roof only entered a not guilty plea because his lawyers wouldn’t accept the death penalty sentence proposed by prosecutors. His defense team presented no evidence and called no witnesses.
In the weeks following his arrest, Roof kept a journal of notes where he wrote:
“I am not sorry, I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed.
“I would like to make it crystal clear I do not regret what I did.
“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 races. 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.”