White man Dylann Roof is challenging the ruling upholding his death sentence as a result of shooting nine Black parishioners in a church while they prayed.
A roofing company attorney filed a petition for Roof’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear his arguments regarding his flawed trial and sentencing on Wednesday (Sept. 8). In their court filing, the convicted killer’s lawyers wrote, “The Panel’s decision violates precedent and will lead to death sentences based on the goodness and worth of the victims.” Particularly troubling, it suggests relying on victims’ religious piety as a measure of their worth.”
As a result, the U.S Fourth Circuit will hear Roof’s appeal and his last resort before proceeding to the Supreme Court will be the rehearing before the whole court.
His conviction and death sentence were upheld last month by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Roof was found competent to stand trial after three judges decided collectively that he was. Also, they said the judge didn’t seem to pay attention to evidence of his alleged mental illness.
It is impossible to capture the full horror of what Roof did with a cold record or careful parsing of statutes and precedents. He deserved the harshest punishment that a society could impose on him for his crimes,” the court said.
During a Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina, Roof opened fire on several Black parishioners conducting the study at the Emanuel AME Church. Nine church members were shot dead during a prayer meeting. Roof told the victims that he had committed the act of mass murder to stop Black people from raping our women and dominating the world.
After being convicted of 33 hate crimes over the killings two years later, Roof was the first person to have the death penalty imposed on him for the charges.
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