Dylann Roof was sentenced to death by a unanimous jury Tuesday, after he confessed to gunning down nine people in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.
The jury reached its verdict after about three hours of deliberation, reports The New York Times. Roof was found guilty on 33 counts after he opened fire at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during a prayer meeting. He said in a manifesto written from prison a few weeks later that he does not regret his actions, and made it clear race was the motivating factor.
“[I] would rather live in prison knowing I took action for my race than live with the torture of sitting idle,” he wrote, adding: “I did what I thought would make the biggest wave.” He later made a point of telling the jury during his sentencing trial that he is perfectly sane.
He chose to mostly represent himself during his trial, calling no witnesses and presenting no evidence for his defense. The jury was shown footage of him cooly entering and then exiting the church on the day of the massacre. At one point during the trial, as prosecutors were describing his crimes in graphic detail, Roof’s mother had a heart attack.
The shooting led to a wave of criticism regarding the Confederate flag, which he was seen posing with in photos, and led to its removal from a number of federal and state properties.
Roof is the first person to get the death sentence for committing a hate crime.
“I have shed a tear of self pity for myself,” he wrote in 2015. “I feel pity that I had to do what I did in the first place. I feel pity that I had to give up my life because of a situation that should never have existed.”
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