USA: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WILL SEEK THE DEATH PENALTY AGAINST DYLANN ROOF
May 24, 2016: The U.S. Department of Justice announced today that they will seek the death penalty against Dylann Roof, the 22-year-old suspect in the attack that killed 9 people at the Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina last year.
This marks the first time that a state and the federal government have simultaneously pursued capital charges against an individual.
Roof's substantial planning before the June 17, 2015 assault, his expressions of hatred toward black people and his lack of remorse after the slayings helped drive the decision, a notice in U.S. District Court stated. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement that she arrived at the decision after a "rigourous" review of the case's factual and legal issues. If he's convicted, Roof will face the ultimate penalty in 2 different courtrooms. In state court, he is set to be tried in January, but his federal trial has not been scheduled.
Roof was indicted in July on 33 federal charges, including the hate crimes. But accusations that he violated the parishioners' right to freely practice a religion are the charges that carry the death penalty.
Officials said he penned an online manifesto about white supremacy before sitting for an hour through the Bible study at the Calhoun Street church, then opening fire.
The shooting left 9 people dead: Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd (54), Susie Jackson (87), Ethel Lee Lance (70), Depayne Middleton-Doctor (49), Clementa C. PinckneyĀ (41), Tywanza Sanders (26), Daniel Simmons (74), Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45), and Myra Thompson (59). (Source: The Post and Courier, 24/05/2016)