A crowd of people in prayer outside the Emanuel AME Church, after a memorial for the nine people killed by Dylann Roof in Charleston, S.C. A federal jury will consider whether Roof should be sentenced to death or life in prison for the racially motivated attack
A crowd of people in prayer outside the Emanuel AME Church, after a memorial for the nine people killed by Dylann Roof in Charleston, S.C. A federal jury will consider whether Roof should be sentenced to death or life in prison for the racially motivated attack

US church shooter to face death penalty for killing nine

CHARLESTON church mass murderer Dylann Roof has been sentenced to death.

The 22-year-old who killed nine black worshippers in June 2015 was told of his fate by a panel of jurors.

The Justice Department says he is the first person to get the death penalty for federal hate crimes.

The jury reached a decision after about three hours of deliberations. Roof was convicted last month of all 33 federal charges against him.

Earlier he had pleaded with those deciding his fate, claiming he wasn't a racist filled with "hatred" as he tried to sway them out of sentencing him to death.

"I think it's safe to say no one in their right mind wants to go in a church and kill people," said Roof during a brief and incoherent closing arguments in his death-penalty trial.

"You may remember in my confession I said I had to do it. I guess that's not really true. I didn't have to do it, no one made me do it. What I meant when I said that was I felt like I had to do it and I still feel like I had to do it."

Roof went on to say that he didn't actually hate black people but told cops he didn't "like what black people do," according to reporters' accounts on Twitter.

"If I'm filled with as much hate as I allegedly am, why would I lie about that?" he asked.

He went on to say that he's been victimised by federal prosecutors who "hate" him.

"Of course they hate you," Roof said.

"Everyone hates you. I would say that, in this case, the prosecution along with anyone else who hates me are the ones who have been misled."

"Anyone, including the prosecution, who thinks I'm full of hatred has no idea what real hate is," he added.

"I have the right to ask you to give me a life sentence," said Roof.

"I don't know what good that would do anyway."

Prosecutors summed up earlier in the day by reminding jurors of the terror each of the nine victims endured as Roof gunned them down one by one.

"You now know about the last moments that they had together," Richardson said. "They welcomed the defendant with a kind word, a bible and a handout and a chair right beside Rev. [Clementa] Pickney."



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