Dylann Roof was officially given the death penalty today, though he will have a one-month window to file a motion for a new trial. Many members of the Emanuel A.M.E. church addressed him before he was sentenced.
Yesterday, the jury unanimously decided that the death penalty was the proper punishment for Dylann Roof's hate-fueled murder of nine people at an African-American church in Charleston, SC in June 2015. Earlier today, Judge Richard Gergel proceeded with the formal sentencing. Before he was officially sentenced to death, Roof was forced to endure addresses from family members of those he killed and from members of the congregation of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the site of the massacre.
After the official verdict, Roof requested that he be given a 90-day extension in the time allotted for him to file a motion for a new trial. In his request, he cited past federal death penalty cases in which such an extension had been granted. The judge ended up partly granting Roof's motion for an extension, not allowing for 90 days but giving him until Feb. 10 to file a motion for a new trial.
Roof also wished to file a motion for new counsel -- a request that was reportedly denied by Judge Gergel, who said, "I feel it would be a great loss of resources and talent."
Chad Mills of WIS News 10 was present for the entirety of today's proceedings, and he live-tweeted the statements that were read to Roof from the families of the victims and the members of Emanuel A.M.E. Their words ranged dramatically in tone and intent, with some wishing Hell upon Roof, and others, such as Reverend Eric Manning -- who joined Emanuel A.M.E. in Summer 2016 -- pleading with him to seek redemption.
Below are just some of the victim impact statements. See the full recap here.
"Because a heart that refuses to...yield to this awesome power of love and forgiveness...I know that that's a heart that's lost," she says.— Chad K. Mills (@ChadKMills) January 11, 2017
"To Dylann Storm Roof, you said you couldn't look at us,...I was taught when you speak, look into the eyes," another family member says.— Chad K. Mills (@ChadKMills) January 11, 2017