On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that a federal appellate court struck down Dylann Roof’s appeal of his death penalty conviction. Roof was responsible for a massacre at a Black church in South Carolina.
In 2015, he walked into Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and killed nine people with a hail of bullets, including the pastor.
In 2017, Roof was the first person in the United States to receive the death penalty for a federal hate crime.
The devoted white supremacist represented himself and at the time of his trial, the best he had to offer was that “anyone who hates anything in their mind has a good reason for it.”
After he was found guilty, he appealed to the 4th Circuit where transcripts revealed that Roof had decided to constantly appeal his case to drag it out in anticipation that white supremacists would take over the nation and pardon him. Arguments for his conviction to be overturned began in May of this year.
The attorneys for the racist murderer argued that he should have never been allowed to represent himself and in doing so, he failed to let the jury hear about certain mental impairments. It’s important to note that Roof was within his raggedy-ass rights to represent himself in a court of law.
They also allege that he kept his mental difficulties secret because that was the only way fellow white supremacist inmates would protect him.
More than a mass shooting, what Roof did was indeed a massacre. Before he murdered the parishioners, they had welcomed him into their place of worship. They embodied the very principle of love and acceptance, and he repaid them with terror and death.
The appellate judges were very clear about the nature of the defendant’s crimes.
“No cold record or careful parsing of statutes and precedents can capture the full horror of what Roof did. His crimes qualify him for the harshest penalty that a just society can impose,” the panel wrote.
For now, Roof’s attorney could ask the appellate court to rehear the case, file for a constitutionality review, petition the Supreme Court or request a presidential pardon.
Although Roof was sentenced to the death penalty, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland halted all federal executions. At the same time, the Justice Department reviewed its execution policies and procedures last month. Biden, who has a sentimental connection to the case but is also eyeing an end to executions, has not commented on the most recent ruling.