Dylann Roof, the shooter during the South Carolina historically black church massacre killing nine people during a prayer meeting, has been sentenced to the death penalty but has until January 24th to appeal.
The Emanual African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting was on June 17th, 2015. Reverend Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Reverend Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Reverend Daniel Simmons Sr., Reverend Sharonda Singleton, and Myra Thompson were all of Roof’s victims. Roof was charged with nine counts of murder and one count possession of a firearm which are all felony charges.
“The twelve jurors deliberated for about three hours before sentencing Dylann Roof, 22, to die. To impose the death penalty, they had to reach a unanimous decision. It is the same jury that found Roof guilty of federal hate crimes charges for entering Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015 and sitting among those at a Bible study in the basement before opening fire on the worshippers,” according to Rebecca Hersher, a writer for NPR.org.
Roof is caught on camera with a gun in hand walking into the church on June 17th. He later confessed to the crimes of slaughtering those people once in custody.
“The fact that anyone would just walk into a church while they’re [the victims] not doing anything and just kill them without remorse is scary. We [the Milton family] go to church often; if you think about it, nothing is stopping someone from doing the same thing, but that’s scary to think about. To kill people who are so innocent and really helpless in a sense makes me feel sick,” said Kamesha Milton, mother of Boys’ Latin student Jalen Milton.
Most of the families of the victims did not hold back their harsh words in regards to Roof.
“You, young man, are among the worst kind of evil. You have said you didn’t have to do this but you felt you had to do this. The fact is, you did not have to do this just as my brother Tywanza urged you not to…One day before your final earthly judgment, it’s going to come to you, and you are going to realize you did not have to do this. And it’s going to hit you hard,” said Shirenne Goss, the sister of victim Tywanza Sanders during an interview for a CNN.com article.
Other family members were even more blunt than that of Ms. Shirenne Goss.
“I want your soul to burn in hell. My mother can’t even step a foot into church. And for you to sit here every day — I was here from the beginning to the end — and never, ever apologize…was hurtful. I pray that your soul goes to hell,” said Gayle Jackson, the niece of victim Susie Jackson during another interview for a CNN.com article.
“Although the crime was committed in 2015 and the ruling process began on Jan. 3rd, the final decision did not come until Tuesday [January 11th],” according to NPR.com
“I don’t know if I agree with the ruling to be completely honest. I usually cannot agree with just killing a man like this, but he says he killed those people on purpose to ‘start a race war’. That is why I don’t really know; I’m pretty torn,” said Milton.