NEWS

Evil Roof gets death sentence

Justice for racist church slays

NY Daily NewsSTEPHEN REX BROWN NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
KILLER Dylann Roof can now join his hero, Adolf Hitler, in hell.
A jury sentenced the unrepentant racist to death Tuesday for killing nine black parishioners at a historic Charleston, S.C., church.
A stoic Roof showed no emotion when the verdict was read following about three hours of jury deliberations.
During his brief closing remarks to the 12-member panel that condemned him, Roof did not ask for mercy, or express remorse, for the racially motivated massacre at Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015. He in fact embraced his conviction -- and the jury's.
"I felt like I had to do it, and I still feel like I had to do it," Roof, 22, said.
"I have the right to ask you to give me a life sentence," he added, "but I'm not sure what good that would do anything."
Earlier, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson had said Roof was beyond saving.
"This is calculated. Misguided, but thoughtful. It was considered. He spent years acquiring this deep hatred," Richardson said, according to tweets by The State newspaper.
"He said he `had to do it.' Those are the words of an extraordinary racist."
Roof becomes the 63rd prisoner on federal Death Row -- and the first to be sentenced to death for a hate crime. Only three federal inmates have been executed since 1988.
During four days of testimony in the sentencing phase of the trial, prosecutors cited Roof's journal, in which he wrote his thought that Hitler would one day be canonized as a saint.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel will formally sentence Roof on Wednesday for the shooting, which three people survived.
Malcolm Graham, the brother of slain victim Cynthia Hurd, tweeted, "Justice is served."
"There's no place in a civilized society for hatred, racism or discrimination," wrote Graham, who is a former North Carolina state senator.
Roof's own legal team was stymied by their client, who defended himself during the sentencing phase so he could keep out testimony regarding his mental health and family history.
"This case will not be over for a very long time," Roof's defense team said. "We are sorry that despite our best efforts, the legal proceedings have shed so little light on the reasons for this tragedy."
Roof's family said they were praying for the Emanuel AME families and Charleston.
"We will always love Dylann. We will struggle as long as we live to understand why he committed this horrible attack, which caused so much pain to so many good people," they said.
During the sentencing phase, Roof didn't call witnesses or put on a defense.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, called 25 witnesses. And they let Roof's own words speak for themselves.
"I would like to make it crystal clear I do not regret what I did," he wrote in his journal. "I am not sorry I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed.
"I have shed a tear of self pity for myself."
The federal government has not executed a prisoner in 13 years, and the last high-profile federal inmate to be executed was Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, in 2001. Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death in 2015. He is appealing.
Last month, the same jury deliberated two hours and found Roof guilty on all 33 counts he faced.
Evidence showed Roof selfradicalized by immersing himself in racist culture online. He practiced shooting, scouted potential houses of worship and visited historically significant sites of slavery around South Carolina.
Richardson reminded the jury of Roof's reason for the slaughter as he opened fire on the Bible study group, reloading his .45-caliber Glock seven times.
"Y'all are raping white women. Y'all are taking over the world," Roof said. He even wore shoes adorned with a handdrawn racist symbol to court.
"What is wrong here?" Richardson asked rhetorically. "What's wrong here is his hatred. His racist ideology. The calculated racism. That's what's wrong." Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said the trial was a reminder of the dignity of the Emanuel community. Many family members of the victims forgave Roof.
"To the families of the Emanuel nine, I say thank you. In your loss, you have given all of us more than we ever thought possible," Scott said.
sbrown@nydailynews.com
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