Attorneys for Dylann Roof Set to Argue That a Racist Mass Murderer's Conviction and Death Sentence Should Be Overturned

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Zack Linly
·2 min read
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Dylann Roof, right, 21, listens to proceeding with assistant defense attorney William Maguire during a hearing at the Judicial Center July 16, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof is charged with murdering nine worshippers at a historic black church in Charleston last month.
Dylann Roof, right, 21, listens to proceeding with assistant defense attorney William Maguire during a hearing at the Judicial Center July 16, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof is charged with murdering nine worshippers at a historic black church in Charleston last month.

Listen: I have many issues with the death penalty and the way it’s practiced in the U.S., but that doesn’t change the fact that there are certain people whose executions I’m more than happy to advocate for.

Dylann Roof needs to die.

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But our legal system allows anyone—even an unabashed white supremacist who murdered nine people in their place of worship and has since not shown an ounce of remorse—to appeal their convictions if there is legal precedence to do so.

Dylann Roof’s Lawyers Appeal Death Sentence, Saying He Was Too Mentally Ill to Represent Himself at Trial

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that on May 25, Roof and his attorneys are scheduled to go before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals where they are expected to argue that Roof’s conviction and death sentence should be overturned.

From AJC:

In 2017, Roof became the first person in the U.S. sentenced to death for a federal hate crime after he opened fire during the closing prayer of a 2015 Bible study session at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Serving as his own attorney in the sentencing phase of his trial, the self-avowed white supremacist neither fought for his life nor explained his actions, remorse, saying only that “anyone who hates anything in their mind has a good reason for it.”

Dylann Roof told his attorneys that he would seek appeals to drag his case out as long as he possibly could because he expected white supremacists to take over the United States, and subsequently pardon him for the massacre and declare him governor of South Carolina.

Roof’s delusions would be funny if not for the likelihood that his attorneys are going to use them as evidence that he was unfit to represent himself at trial in order to overturn his well-deserved death sentence. Of course, if his defense team wanted to be real, they’d admit that the belief that white supremacists would take over a country that has arguably always been controlled by white supremacists isn’t that delusional.

Anyway, AJC noted that along with his federal death sentence, a state court sentenced Roof to nine consecutive life sentences after he pleaded guilty to state murder charges in 2017. Scarlett Wilson, solicitor for South Carolina’s Ninth Judicial Circuit, called the state sentencing “an insurance policy for the federal conviction,” which basically means that if his federal death sentence doesn’t stand, the public can still rest assured that Dylann Roof will spend the rest of his life behind bars.