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

Alert Bay, Sointula Sailings affected by bad weather

BC Ferries is holding the Quadra Queen II in dock this morning

Minor Earthquake strikes near Port Hardy

M 4.7 182km SW of Port Hardy

Viral video shows deer killed on Snapchat in Campbell River

RCMP say they have identified those involved and are working with conservation officers

Vancouver Island Firefighters Association Fall Training Seminar

Port Hardy Fire Rescue hosted the Vancouver Island Firefighters Association Fall Training Seminar.

‘Sisters of Song’ choir brings joy to Port Alice singers

“Music is an extreme source of joy for a lot of people.”

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Man linked to Shuswap farm where human remains found to appear in court

A rally will be held on the Vernon courthouse steps prior to Curtis Sagmoen’s appearance

B.C. snow plow operator helps save elderly man

The 73-year-old man had fallen at his isolated home, and finally was able to call for help

Wildlife group challenges B.C.’s interpretation of law on destroying bears

Fur-Bearers are challenging a conservation officer’s decision to kill a bear cub near Dawson Creek

Tourism numbers continue to climb in B.C.

The majority of international travellers to British Columbia are coming from Australia

Canadian screen stars want ‘action’ from industry meeting on sexual misconduct

‘Of course there’s been sexual harassment here. Absolutely. No question.’

VIDEO: Search for missing B.C. dog walker remains a ‘rescue effort’

Annette Poitras was last seen walking three dogs on Monday afternoon

Accused in violent Kamloops burglary charged with attempted murder

Accused in violent Kamloops burglary, home invasion charged with attempted murder; victim remains in hospital

INTERACTIVE MAP: Follow the 2017 Tour de Rock

Follow the Tour de Rock, as they pedal more than 1,000 kilometres fundraising to combat paediatric cancer

Most Read