On Tuesday Dylann Roof, the man who was arrested for the shooting and killing of 9 people and injuring one at the south’s oldest black church, Emanuel AME church in Charleston, SC, appealed his federal convictions and death sentence in the 2015 massacre, arguing that he was mentally ill when he represented himself at his capital trial. Roof’s lawyers asked the court to review 20 issues, including errors they say were made by the judge and prosecutors that “tainted” his sentencing.
One of the main arguments is that U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel should not have allowed Roof to represent himself during the penalty phase of his trial because he was a 22 year old ninth grade dropout who believed his sentence didn’t matter because white nationalists would free him from prison after an impending race war.
In their legal brief Roof’s lawyers state that the federal trial shouldn’t happened at all. They said the state quickly brought capital charges against Roof’s wholly-intrastate crime, but months later, federal prosecutors sought their own death sentence. They argue that state officials viewed the federal prosecution as unnecessary and disruptive.
Roof became the first person to be ordered executed for a federal hate crime when he was sentenced to death for the fatal shooting that took place at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC on June 17, 2015.
Do you think the order of execution should be reversed?