On Wednesday, a federal appeals court upheld Dylann Roof’s sentence for the murder of nine members of a Black church. Roof’s attorneys argued to overturn his sentence based on the fact that he “was wrongly allowed to represent himself during sentencing, a critical phase of his trial”.
His attorney argued that he was under the delusion that he would be saved from prison by white-nationalists and in turn, didn’t attempt to advocate for himself and withheld evidence regarding his mental health. Roof was the first person sentenced to the death penalty for a hate crime, a conviction his lawyers say should be vacated or reevaluated by the courts due to Roof’s incompetency during the trial.
According to AP News, “the 4th Circuit found that the trial judge did not commit an error when he found Roof was competent to stand trial and issued a scathing rebuke of Roof’s crimes. “Dylann Roof murdered African Americans at their church, during their Bible-study and worship. They had welcomed him. He slaughtered them. He did so with the express intent of terrorizing not just his immediate victims at the historically important Mother Emanuel Church, but as many similar people as would hear of the mass murder,” the panel wrote in is ruling.