White supremacist Dylann Roof continues to show no signs of remorse or reform after murdering nine African-Americans at Mother Emanuel in 2015.
The 23-year-old Columbia native, who was 21 when he opened fire during bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Calhoun Street, responded to a letter from former self-described “skinhead” Christian Picciolini by doubling down on his racist rhetoric.
Picciolini says he was bullied in school because of his Italian heritage, according to a Dec. 17 segment on 60 Minutes. Picciolini then started hanging out with a neighbor who was a prominent neo-Nazi.
“They promised me they would take me out of whatever hell I was in, and in a way they delivered,” Picciolini said in his interview with 60 Minutes‘ Scott Pelley. “They did give me a new identity.”
Picciolini was expelled from school for a sixth time. After that, he began recruiting “soldiers” and using physical violence against Black people.
“I was thinking that I wanted to burn the world down, ’cause I was so angry at it,” Picciolini said.
Roof responded to Picciolini’s letter on April 13 from a Charleston County jail, a little more than three months after he was sentenced to death in federal court.
“Traitor, you’ve really cashed in, haven’t you?” Roof’s letter begins. “I know you won’t be, but you really should be ashamed of yourself. I hope you know that you are 100 times worse than the Jews you’ve surrounded yourself with.”
These days, Picciolini gives speeches and trains police departments on white supremacist tactics. He described Roof’s words as those of someone who is “completely indoctrinated by these alternate sets of facts.”
“You couldn’t handle the mental stress that comes along with white nationalism, so you took the easy way out,” Roof continued. “But what is so disgusting about you is that rather than just leave white nationalism behind, you decided to devote your time to undermining your own race.”
Roof, who is currently appealing his death sentence, has repeatedly taken issue with the ethnicities or religions of attorneys appointed to represent him.
“My two currently appointed attorneys, Alexandra Yates and Sapna Mirchandani, are Jewish and Indian, respectively,” Roof wrote in a motion filed with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. in September. “It is therefore quite literally impossible that they and I could have the same interests relating to my case.”
Roof is currently locked up in federal prison in Indiana.
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