Dylann Roof has been sentenced to death for his crime of shooting up a church in Charleston and killing nine black churchgoers while they were in prayer in June of 2015. This is the first time that a federal hate crime has received the death sentence. Roof was transferred from Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston, South Carolina to Terre Haute Federal Prison in Indiana and placed on death row.
Terre Haute is a medium security prison that executes death row inmates by lethal injection and currently is occupied by 1,338 inmates, inclusive of both general and death row inmates. It took a jury only 12 hours to unanimously reach a death penalty verdict. A unanimous vote of the jury is required in death penalty cases.
This marks the first time in history that someone was sentenced to death by way of a hate crime charge and possibly paves the way for other people to get similar charges on hate crimes where people lose their life.
Dylann Roof scouted the scene of the mass shooting months before carrying out the devastating murders. He purchased a weapon with money he received for his birthday and acquired magazines that would eventually hold an exact total of 88 rounds. The number 88 carries with it racist connotations as 8 is the eighth letter of the alphabet, "H" and 88 or HH is often used to abbreviate "Heil Hitler" in racist circles. Roof's hate was so deep that even during his sentencing procedures his footwear bore several racist symbols on them.
Roof had asked for life in prison without the possibility of parole in exchange for an immediate guilty plea. Prosecutors denied this. It is said that prosecutors saw this is Roof looking for many more years to be alive in prison where he could continue to write racist drool.
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The death penalty conviction provided a very slight measure of closure for some of the families, but most gave a similar message. While a small measure of justice will be served on the monstrous Dylann Roof, nothing can be done to bring their loved ones back so any significant amount of closure can never be had.
During his sentencing Roof was given a chance to address the court and he took the moment to express sadness to his parents and pity for himself. He expressed absolutely no regret or remorse for the people he killed and their families.
At one point he stated that he did what he believed he must, and still feels the same way.
This was a terrible tragedy that will always be in the minds of Americans and finally the racist monster Dylann Roof awaits his death at the hands of the Federal Government.