AFRICANGLOBE – A jury on Thursday convicted Dylann Roof of slaughtering nine Black members of a Charleston, South Carolina, church.
He was convicted of 33 federal charges, from hate crimes to the obstruction of the practice of religion.
Roof, 22, walked into the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, commonly referred to as “Mother Emanuel,” in June 2015 during Bible study. He sat with congregation members before taking out a gun and starting his massacre.
He killed Cynthia Hurd, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Daniel Simmons, Tywanza Sanders, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Myra Thompson and Clementa Pinckney, who was the pastor of the church.
The 12 jurors deliberated for less than two hours after six days of testimony. Seventeen of Roof’s federal charges carry the death penalty.
After his arrest, Roof spoke with FBI agents for two hours, during which time he said, “I am guilty. We all know I’m guilty.”
The tape, which was played for jurors, showed Roof telling the agents he committed the acts because he believed Black men were raping white women “daily” and that white people had become second-class citizens.
Roof spared Polly Sheppard, a 72-year-old retired nurse, on the night of the massacre.
“I was praying out loud,” Sheppard said during her emotional testimony. “He told me to shut up.”
After asking if she had been shot, Roof then told Sheppard he would let her live so she could tell the story.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) referred to Roof as an “evil man” in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
“As the killer now awaits sentencing, I want the families of those lost that day to know one thing: we are still with you,” the statement says in part.