Dylann Roof sentenced to death by jury for Charleston church massacre

  • Dylann Roof, 22, was convicted last month on 33 federal charges, including hate crimes and obstruction of religion 
  • The same jury that found him guilty was tasked with deciding if he gets the death penalty or life in prison 
  • Jurors spent roughly three hours deliberating Roof's sentencing on Tuesday 
  • Roof said during his closing argument: 'In my confession to the FBI, I told them that I had to do it' 
  • He added that he still feels the same way about killing the churchgoers 
  • A U.S. prosecutor argued Roof deserved to die because the shooting was calculated and intended to incite racial violence 
  • Roof, a white supremacist, is the first person to be sentenced to death for a federal hate crime 

By Regina F. Graham For Dailymail.com and Reuters

Published: 14:20 EST, 10 January 2017 | Updated: 17:16 EST, 10 January 2017

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Convicted murderer and white supremacist Dylann Roof has been sentenced to death for the cold blooded 2015 massacre of nine black Charleston churchgoers after he told the jury on Tuesday that he would do it all again.

The 12-person jury deliberating the penalty phase of the trial spent about three hours making the decision for the 22-year-old's sentence. 

Roof stared straight ahead as the judge read through the jury's verdict findings before announcing his death sentence, local media reported on social media. 

Before the three white and nine black jurors went to deliberate, Roof was unrepentant at the federal capital trial on Tuesday.

He told jurors earlier in the day that he still felt that killing nine black people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was something he had to do and did not ask the jury to spare his life for the 2015 massacre.

'In my confession to the FBI, I told them that I had to do it,' Roof said during his short closing argument on Tuesday. 'I felt like I had to do it when I said that and I still feel that way.'

Jurors began deliberating the penalty phase of the trial just after 1.30pm ET and came back with a decision shortly after 4.30pm ET.

Roof is the first person to be sentenced to death for a federal hate crime, according to the Justice Department.

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Dylann Roof (above), 22, was convicted last month on 33 federal charges, including hate crimes and obstruction of religion. The same jury that found him guilty decided to sentence Roof to death for the crime Dylann Roof (above), 22, was convicted last month on 33 federal charges, including hate crimes and obstruction of religion. The same jury that found him guilty decided to sentence Roof to death for the crime

Dylann Roof (above), 22, was convicted last month on 33 federal charges, including hate crimes and obstruction of religion. The same jury that found him guilty decided to sentence Roof to death for the crime

'In my confession to the FBI, I told them that I had to do it,' Roof (above) said during his short closing argument on Tuesday. 'I felt like I had to do it when I said that and I still feel that way.'  'In my confession to the FBI, I told them that I had to do it,' Roof (above) said during his short closing argument on Tuesday. 'I felt like I had to do it when I said that and I still feel that way.' 

'In my confession to the FBI, I told them that I had to do it,' Roof (above) said during his short closing argument on Tuesday. 'I felt like I had to do it when I said that and I still feel that way.' 

Roof told the jury Tuesday that federal prosecutors who accused him of being filled with hatred did not understand real hate. The Charleston Federal Courthouse is pictured above on Tuesday during Roof's trial Roof told the jury Tuesday that federal prosecutors who accused him of being filled with hatred did not understand real hate. The Charleston Federal Courthouse is pictured above on Tuesday during Roof's trial

Roof told the jury Tuesday that federal prosecutors who accused him of being filled with hatred did not understand real hate. The Charleston Federal Courthouse is pictured above on Tuesday during Roof's trial

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel is bound by law to follow the jury's decision. He has scheduled the formal sentencing hearing for Wednesday at 9.30am.  

Last month, the same group of jurors deliberated for about two hours before finding Roof guilty of 33 charges, including hate crimes resulting in death.

Roof told the jury Tuesday that federal prosecutors who accused him of being filled with hatred did not understand real hate. 

He noted it would only take one juror to block the unanimous verdict needed for a death sentence.

'I have a right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I'm not sure what good that will do anyone,' Roof said.

He told the jury prior to sentencing that the government has an inaccurate idea of his character, despite the fact there's dozens of photos showing him posing with guns and racist symbols as well as the content of his racist writings.   

'I would say in this case the prosecution and anyone else who hates me are the ones who have been misled,' Roof said. 

'I have a right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I'm not sure what good that will do anyone,' Roof (above) said to jurors on Tuesday before they returned his sentence in the afternoon 'I have a right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I'm not sure what good that will do anyone,' Roof (above) said to jurors on Tuesday before they returned his sentence in the afternoon

'I have a right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I'm not sure what good that will do anyone,' Roof (above) said to jurors on Tuesday before they returned his sentence in the afternoon

After four days of testimony, prosecutors rested their death penalty case Monday against  Roof (sketch from trial above), calling more than two dozen people during the trial's penalty phase After four days of testimony, prosecutors rested their death penalty case Monday against  Roof (sketch from trial above), calling more than two dozen people during the trial's penalty phase

After four days of testimony, prosecutors rested their death penalty case Monday against Roof (sketch from trial above), calling more than two dozen people during the trial's penalty phase

'Anyone including the prosecution who thinks I'm filled with hatred has no idea what real hate is.'

'They don't know anything about me. They don't know what real hatred looks like. They think they do but they don't really.'

A U.S. prosecutor argued Roof deserved to die because the shooting was calculated and intended to incite racial violence.

Roof sat for 40 minutes with parishioners gathered for a Bible study meeting on June 17, 2015, before opening fire as they closed their eyes to pray, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson said.

'He'd come with a hateful heart and a Glock 45,' the prosecutor said during his two-hour final argument. 

'This was cold and calculated, planned for months, researched for years.'

Above family members of the victims of the Emanuel Church shooting leave the courthouse during a break at the Charleston Federal Courthouse on Tuesday Above family members of the victims of the Emanuel Church shooting leave the courthouse during a break at the Charleston Federal Courthouse on Tuesday

Above family members of the victims of the Emanuel Church shooting leave the courthouse during a break at the Charleston Federal Courthouse on Tuesday

Jurors again viewed photos of the bodies of victims Clementa Pinckney, 41, the church's pastor and a state senator; DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49; Sharonda Coleman Singleton, 45; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Myra Thompson, 59; Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; and Tywanza Sanders, 26.

Roof's offer to plead guilty in exchange for life in prison, his cooperation with authorities and his lack of a violent past did not outweigh the aggravating factors of the crime, Richardson said.

'What's wrong here is the calculated racism, the choice to target a church, particularly the people in a church,' Richardson said. 

'What's wrong here is precisely why this is a case that justifies the death penalty.'

Roof still faces a trial on murder charges in state court, where prosecutors also are seeking the death penalty.

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