Black church shooter’s conviction, death sentence upheld
RICHMOND, VA. —
A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld the conviction and sentence of a man on federal death row for the 2015 racist slayings of nine members of a Black South Carolina congregation.
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond affirmed Dylann Roof’s conviction and sentence in the shootings at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
In 2017, Roof became the first person in the U.S. sentenced to death for a federal hate crime. Authorities have said Roof opened fire during the closing prayer of a Bible study at the church, raining down dozens of bullets on those assembled. He was 21 at the time.
In his appeal, Roof’s attorneys argued that he was wrongly allowed to represent himself during sentencing, a critical phase of his trial. Roof successfully prevented jurors from hearing evidence about his mental health, “under the delusion,” his attorneys argued, that “he would be rescued from prison by white-nationalists…