White supremacist Dylann Roof has been sentenced to death for the racially motivated killing of nine black parishioners in a South Carolina church
Last month Roof was found guilty of 33 federal charges including hate crimes, after opening fire on a Bible study group in 2015. He said at the time he had wanted to start a race war.
The brother of one victim, Melvin Graham said it had been a hollow victory:
“My sister is still gone. But what it can do is just send a message to those who feel the way he feels – that this community will not tolerate it. Every time I hear about the shooting I cry. We have to stop this and I think if we can just stand up for each other like we did in the beginning then maybe we’ve got a pretty good shot at stamping this out.”
On June 17, 2015, Roof sat for 40 minutes with parishioners gathered for a Bible study meeting at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church,before opening fire as they closed their eyes to pray.
Roof who was unrepentant throughout the court hearings told jurors he still felt the massacre was something he had to do.
Nearly two dozen friends and relatives of those gunned down testified during the sentencing phase about how Roof’s crimes have affected their lives. However, none of them reportedly asked the jury to return a death sentence.