Federal Appeals Court Upholds Dylann Roof's Death Sentence For 2015 Church Slayings

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Dylann Roof’s Death Sentence For 2015 Church Slayings

Dylann Roof will reportedly remain under the roof of the prison he’s in! According to AP News, Dylann was denied an appeal to vacate his conviction and death sentence for the 2015 slayings of nine, Black members of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. A panel of three, unanimous judges upheld the initial ruling on Wednesday.

“Dylann Roof murdered African Americans at their church, during their Bible-study and worship,” the panel wrote in their ruling. “They had welcomed him. He slaughtered them. He did so with the express intent of terrorizing not just his immediate victims at the historically important Mother Emanuel Church, but as many similar people as would hear of the mass murder.”

His lawyers argued that he was “wrongly allowed to represent himself” during the sentencing portion of his trial. Dylann was allegedly “under the delusion” that white-nationalists would keep him out of prison only if he concealed his “mental-health impairments” from the public. Therefore, he kept jurors from hearing evidence about his mental health.

Due to this thinking, his lawyers requested that the conviction and death sentence be thrown out or that the case be sent to court for a “proper competency evaluation.”

The panel, hailing from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, rejected the incompetency arguments. Instead, they said the trial judge “did not commit an error” in determining that Dylann was competent to stand trial.


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Arguments for this appeal were presented in May of this year, but the ruling was determined on Wednesday. Dylann will continue to serve the nine consecutive life sentences granted in 2017. As you may remember, he pled guilty to state murder charges and is awaiting execution.

“No cold record or careful parsing of statutes and precedents can capture the full horror of what Roof did,” the judges wrote. “His crimes qualify him for the harshest penalty that a just society can impose.”

At the time of the ruling, Dylann became “the first person in the U.S.” to be given the death sentence for a federal hate crime.

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