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A white nationalist who shot and killed nine Black people in a South Carolina church will be executed.
Dylann Roof, who was 21 at the time, walked into Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on June 17, 2015, and murdered nine members of the congregation: DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Myrah Thompson, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Daniel Simmons, Clementa Pinckney and Cynthia Hurd.
Polly Sheppard, 72, was ‘spared’ by Roof so she could ‘tell the story’, and ended up testifying against him at trial alongside Felicia Sanders, another survivor. In 2017, he was the first person in US history to be handed the death sentence for a federal hate crime.
His legal team recently tried to get his conviction and death sentence overturned, arguing his federal trial ‘departed so far from the standard required when the government seeks the ultimate price that it cannot be affirmed,’ the MailOnline reports.
They say his mental health issues should have been considered before allowing Roof to represent himself during parts of the trial, including sentencing.
Roof managed to keep any discussion of his mental health away from jurors, as he was ‘under the delusion that he would be rescued from prison by white nationalists – but only, bizarrely, if he kept his mental impairments out of the public record’.
However, a three-judge panel of the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals has since affirmed his conviction, and his execution will go ahead.
‘No cold record or careful parsing of statutes and precedents can capture the full horror of what Roof did. His crimes qualify him for the harshest penalty that a just society can impose,’ the judges wrote.
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