Jury Finds Dylann Roof Guilty In Charleston Church Massacre
Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) — [Breaking news update, posted at 3:27 p.m. ET]
A jury has found Dylann Roof guilty of counts 1 to 12 in his federal trial in Charleston, South Carolina. The judge is still reading other charges. Roof confessed to killing nine people last year at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Roof faces 33 federal charges. He could face the death penalty.
[Previous article, posted, at 2:52 p.m. ET]
The fate of the man who confessed to gunning down nine people in a Charleston church is in a jury’s hands.
Deliberations began Thursday afternoon in the Dylann Roof murder trial after attorneys made closing arguments.
Shortly after deliberations began, the jury asked to again watch the video in which Roof confessed to two FBI agents. Specifically, the jury wanted to see the portion where Roof was unsure of how many people he had killed.
Roof, 22, a self-declared white supremacist, has admitted to last year’s killings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Now, after watching an on-camera confession by Roof, jurors could decide not just whether he’s legally guilty, but also whether he should get the death penalty.
“He needs to be held accountable for every bullet,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams told the jury, emphasizing what he said was the depth of Roof’s hatred.
“The parishioners could not have seen the hatred in his heart,” Williams said. “He sat and waited until they were at their most vulnerable.”
Family members of the victims sobbed as Williams spoke.
Defense attorney David Bruck said Williams was correct about the events.
“Why, why did Dylann Roof do this?” Bruck said. “What was the explanation?”
Bruck asked the jury to “look beyond the surface” and to ask, “Is there something more to this story?”
The closing arguments come after a week of dramatic arguments and chilling testimony about the June 2015 massacre.
Prosecutors presented Roof as a “cold and calculating” killer. Jurors saw a witness whose son was killed sobbing on the stand. They heard an FBI agent read a series of Roof’s racist writings. And they watched a video of Roof laughing after admitting he killed the victims.
The defense did not call any witnesses, and Roof did not testify.