Dylann Roof will represent himself during sentencing phase of death-penalty trial

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Dylann Roof, the South Carolina man who gunned down black worshippers at a historic African-American church in 2015, plans to represent himself — without the aid of evidence or witnesses that could save his life — during the sentencing phase of his federal hate-crime trial, according to reports from a Wednesday morning pretrial conference in Charleston.

Roof told U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel he will give an opening statement when sentencing proceedings begin Jan. 3, the Charleston Post and Courier reported. But he will not present evidence or call any witnesses in an attempt to convince the jury that found him guilty earlier this month not to put him to death. 

Roof spoke during the otherwise standard pretrial conference, according to reporters tweeting from the courthouse in Charleston:

Roof, who killed nine members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina, had been accused of targeting the parishioners because of their race. The hate-motivated massacre shattered any notions that the country had moved further away from its violent, white-supremacist past.

On Dec. 15, 12 jurors found Roof guilty on all 33 charges against him, including hate crimes resulting in death, obstructing the exercise of religion and firearms-related offenses. The verdict capped nearly two weeks of gut-wrenching testimony from shooting survivors, state and federal investigators and police, establishing Roof as an unrepentant racist.

In addition to the federal trial, Roof faces nine murder charges and three attempted murder charges in state court. Those proceedings are set to begin sometime in January.

If convicted in state court, Roof will again face the death penalty.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Aaron Morrison

Aaron is a Senior Staff Writer for The Movement at Mic. He covers the intersection of race, justice, politics, diversity and civil rights. He has previously written for IB TImes, Miami Herald, The Bergen Record of New Jersey and the Associated Press. Send tips to aaron@mic.com.

MORE FROM

South Carolina woman faces charges for ripping Confederate battle flag off driver's truck

The woman reportedly backed into the owner's truck, then fled the scene.

These amazing photos marking the end of Ramadan show how Muslims are celebrating Eid al-Fitr

Twitter users flooded social media with selfies and family snaps.

Philando Castile's family reaches $3 million settlement with Minnesota police

The settlement is the latest in a string of multi-million-dollar payouts that have followed police-involved deaths of African-Americans.

Chance the Rapper demands justice for Chicago at BET Awards, with an assist from Michelle Obama

Two high-profile Chicago natives call for action.

Burned Quran stuffed with bacon found outside California mosque

This isn't the first time bacon has been used as an act of provocation against Muslims.

Charleena Lyles was a "powerful lady" — until she faced Seattle's flawed criminal justice system

Like Charleena Lyles, women who experience mental health instabilities have been more likely than men to encounter a criminal justice system that is ill-equipped to treat them.

South Carolina woman faces charges for ripping Confederate battle flag off driver's truck

The woman reportedly backed into the owner's truck, then fled the scene.

These amazing photos marking the end of Ramadan show how Muslims are celebrating Eid al-Fitr

Twitter users flooded social media with selfies and family snaps.

Philando Castile's family reaches $3 million settlement with Minnesota police

The settlement is the latest in a string of multi-million-dollar payouts that have followed police-involved deaths of African-Americans.

Chance the Rapper demands justice for Chicago at BET Awards, with an assist from Michelle Obama

Two high-profile Chicago natives call for action.

Burned Quran stuffed with bacon found outside California mosque

This isn't the first time bacon has been used as an act of provocation against Muslims.

Charleena Lyles was a "powerful lady" — until she faced Seattle's flawed criminal justice system

Like Charleena Lyles, women who experience mental health instabilities have been more likely than men to encounter a criminal justice system that is ill-equipped to treat them.