[image-1]With just 11 words, a federal appeals court has denied Dylann Roof’s request for new attorneys based on their ethnicity.
On Monday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. received a handwritten letter from the white nationalist who gunned down nine black parishioners inside Emanuel AME Church in hopes of igniting a race war. In his motion, Roof asked that his legal team be replaced, writing, “My two currently appointed attorneys, Alexandra Yates and Sapna Mirchandani, are Jewish and Indian, respectively. It is therefore quite literally impossible that they and I could have the same interests relating to my case.”
Roof, who was sentenced to execution in January and currently resides on federal death row in Terre Haute, Ind., went on to label the attorneys tasked with saving his life as his “political and biological enemies.”
On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals filed a brief response, saying only, “The court denies the motion for substitution of counsel on appeal.”
Roof clashed with his former legal team throughout his federal trial. While Roof’s most recent motion in appeals court claims that his former lead defense attorney’s Jewish ethnicity was a “constant source of conflict” during the trial, court documents show that the convicted murderer’s main concern was protecting his reputation among white supremacists.
Roof opposed numerous attempts by his attorneys to present evidence that he was mentally unfit to stand trial or face the death penalty, even going so far as to represent himself during the sentencing phase of his federal trial. During a private hearing prior to Roof’s sentencing, he told U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel that he would rather face the death penalty that have his mental health questioned, saying such an effort “discredits the reason why I did the crime.”