Charleston Church Shooter Trial Begins On Monday

The Charleston church shooter, Dylann Roof could face the death penalty, as trial is set to begin.

The 22-year-old Charleston church shooter, Dylann Roof is set to go on trial on Monday, after he has been accused of killing 9 people in a historically Black church in Charleston, Carolina in 2015. What could the verdict be? We’ll have to wait and see. We’ve got more details from the following sources:

The Wall Street Journal

Dylann Roof faces the death penalty in a monthslong federal trial beginning Monday in Charleston, S.C., less than a mile from the historic “Mother Emanuel” church where he is accused of killing nine black worshipers last year at Bible study.

The trial is expected to revive painful memories of the mass killing, and reopen debate over the appropriate use of the death penalty.

Mr. Roof, 22 years old, has said he would plead guilty and face life in prison, avoiding a costly and lengthy trial, if the death penalty were taken off the table. Mr. Roof’s attorneys have argued in hearings and court filings that the death penalty is unconstitutional and its application is so flawed that it shouldn’t be considered.

Federal prosecutors say the racial motivation and the scope of harm require use of the death penalty.

Mr. Roof, who is white, faces numerous charges in the June 17, 2015, killings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The Rev. Clementa Pickney, the church’s pastor and a state senator, and eight other people were killed while gathered for Bible study.

The federal trial, which focuses on hate-crime charges based on race and religion, is the first of two death-penalty trials. A second trial in state court focuses on murder charges and is expected next year. See more

9 News

Speculation over the Charleston church shooter‘s case is focused on whether he will receive a sentence of life in prison or death.

“The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm” compelled the US Justice Department to pursue the death penalty, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said.

The federal proceedings could last weeks. A separate state trial, which could also result in a death sentence, is expected to begin in January.

As Monday’s proceedings get underway, national attention will turn to Charleston, a bucolic port city known for its cobblestone streets and pastel antebellum homes.

Roof is the first suspect who will be considered for potential death sentences at both the state and federal levels, Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said.

“The irony is that an institution that has a history of discrimination” against African-Americans, he added of capital punishment in the United States, “is being used to execute somebody for a hate crime”.

“Does its pursuit in the name of racial equity undermine efforts to ensure that the death penalty is not discriminatorily opposed against others?”

Roof’s lawyers have said the suspected murderer was willing to plead guilty in exchange for being spared from the death penalty. Read more


Relatives of Roof told the Post and Courier last week they are “still in anguish and shock that a member of our family could have committed such a terrible, senseless crime” and are “still struggling to understand why the Charleston church shooter caused so much grief and pain to so many good people.”

Both the federal and state charges include weapons offenses. The FBI said Roof should not have been allowed to purchase a handgun because he had previously “admitted to possessing a controlled substance.”

FBI Director James Comey said an error in the background check system led to the purchase:

“Flaws in paperwork and communication between a federal background check worker and state law enforcement allowed Dylann Roof to buy a handgun in South Carolina on April 16 — weeks before he allegedly attacked black churchgoers in a failed attempt to fuel a race war”

“‘We are all sick that this has happened,” Comey told reporters Friday. “We wish we could turn back the clock. … What we can do is make sure we learn from it, get better.”

Families of the victims of the shooting are suing the FBI for negligence for the agency’s failure to prevent Roof from buying the weapon. In October, the FBI filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that the FBI did not have the authority to prevent the sale. See more

The Charleston church shooter has to face justice for his monstrous crime. The beginning of the trial is just around the corner, but many have seen their thoughts swayed towards the upcoming elections. We must not forget what this vile person did and we must continue to push for his due punishment.

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