Guilty plea wraps up cases against Charleston church shooter

Guilty plea wraps up cases against Charleston church shooter

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof is expected to plead guilty to state murder charges Monday, leaving him to await execution in a federal prison and sparing his victims and their families the burden of a second trial.

The self-avowed white supremacist was unapologetic at his federal trial as he listened to days of testimony from survivors. They described in harrowing detail the hail of bullets that began when parishioners closed their eyes to pray during a June 2015 Bible study at the historically black Emanuel AME Church.

Roof, 23, will be moved to a federal prison in another state, where he will ultimately be put to death on charges of hate crimes and obstruction of the practice of religion. The deal with prosecutors, who also had been pursuing the death penalty, comes in exchange for a life prison sentence on state charges.

Roof was found guilty late last year of 33 federal charges and sentenced to death during a separate proceeding earlier this year. Relatives of each of the nine people killed attended court each day of his federal trial, some testifying with emotion about the voids created by the losses of their loved ones.

Survivors of the shooting also spoke in court, evoking chilling images of the bloody Wednesday night tableau. Jennifer Pinckney, the widow of slain pastor and state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, brought some jurors to tears with her description of how she shielded her young daughter in her husband’s office as the bullets rang out in the nearby fellowship hall.

During his federal trial, Roof was placid and, at times, unapologetic. Twice found competent to stand trial, Roof fired his defence team for the sentencing portion of his proceedings, calling no witnesses or putting up any evidence of his own.

“I have the right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I’m not sure what good it would do anyway,” Roof told jurors in his closing argument. “I still feel like I had to do it.”

Through their attorneys, some relatives and survivors spoke out when the state plea arrangement was announced by prosecutors last month. Charleston attorney Andy Savage, who represents several of the families, said the arrangement to transfer Roof to a federal institution and away from Charleston “is the preference of all victims that I represent.”

Felicia Sanders, who watched as both her son and her aunt died in the shootings, summed up her feelings in two words.

“Praise God,” Savage quoted Sanders as saying.

___

Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP . Read more of her work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/meg-kinnard/ .

Meg Kinnard, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Outbreak at Okanagan hospital

Gastrointestinal illness reported at Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Secondary school ranks first in national competition

A local high school’s work in post-secondary preparedness has garnered national recognition

Dedicated volunteers look for clues

Police appreciate work of those who provide extra eyes for missing women investigations.

Dueck answers Hall’s call

Vernon’s Josh Dueck elected to the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame

Big Band supports children with disabilities in Lake Country

Proceeds from the Okanagan Big Band performance in Vernon supports local kids

Christmas spirit rounded up at Ranch

O’Keefe Ranch celebrates the season with Victorian Christmas

Choir presents a cozy collection of Christmas tunes

Tapestry Women’s Choir and Fireflies Children’s Choir take the Armstrong Bible Chapel stage Dec. 16

Horgan says pot smokers may face same outdoor rules as cigarette smokers

B.C. is developing its rules on recreational marijuana

Truck driver volunteers to take dog lost in B.C. back home to Alberta

Frankie, a pit bull service dog, was found wandering in the Lower Mainland

Vernon Off Road Motorcycle Club looks back at 2017 season

Half Throttle, Great Trails, highlight 2017 season

B.C. teacher suspended after explicit images projected to class

Jeffrey Rohin Muthanna had been viewing porn on a school laptop for two years

Worship night celebrates with Christmas concert

Hear The Music is back with a Christmas concert Dec. 17 at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre

Armstrong purse project puts women first

When money is tight, even the essentials can become luxury items

Man who pledged to give B.C. hockey team millions charged with fraud

Mike Gould has since repaid $8,000 he allegedly owed Cranbrook restaurant, owner says

Most Read