[image-1]Sentenced to death, Dylann Roof stared down blankly as U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel read the jury’s verdict. The 22-year-old white supremacist kept his eyes on the desk in front of him, as he has through most of the trial, and slowly sorted through a stack of paper. As part of their decision that Roof deserved the death penalty, jurors were asked to consider his ability to change if sentenced to life in prison. The 12 jurors were unanimous in their belief that Roof could find redemption.
The final verdict came after just three hours of deliberation. Before jurors were given the chance to discuss Roof’s fate, the man who killed nine parishioners at Emanuel AME Church was given the opportunity to deliver a closing statement. He asked for no forgiveness, offered no apologies. Instead, he told the jury that he still felt he had to kill those people in the church that night.
Federal prosecutor Jay Richardson delivered his closing arguments earlier in the day. He reminded the jury that the death penalty is reserved as punishment for only a small set of murders. And then he called for Roof to pay for his crimes with his life.
“He understood the horrific nature of the crimes he had committed. He knew the consequences that would be coming,” Richardson told the jury.
The prosecutor closed his statements by repeated calling on the jury to sentence Roof to death for those he murdered. Richardson punctuated each line with the names of the nine men and women killed by Roof. And after weeks of painful testimony from the families and loved ones of the victims, the jury heeded his call.