'Dylann is not all bad,' Roof's grandfather speaks in court
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV/AP) - Convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof has pleaded guilty to state murder and attempted murder charges, leaving him to await federal execution and sparing his victims and their families the burden of a second trial.
You can view the entire hearing below.
After Solicitor Scarlett Wilson gave the facts of the case, a brief synopsis of events that happened the night of June 17, 2015, family members of the victims were given a chance to speak to the court.
Pastor Eric Manning, current pastor of Emanuel AME, spoke to the judge saying that while Mother Emanuel has been a cornerstone of the African American community for more than 200 years, some of the parishioners have challenges coming back because it is a place "where nine lives were taken and lives of the survivors have been changed forever."
Sen. Gerald Malloy spoke on behalf of Rev. Clementa Pinckney's family followed by several family members of the victims.
Dylann Roof did not speak but his attorneys allowed his grandfather, Joe Roof to speak on his behalf.
"I want everyone to understand that nothing is all bad," he said. "And Dylann is not all bad." He spoke about a bible class where he learned that the devil exists, good people do bad things, and bad people do good things. He said Dylann's actions made them feel "sick" and he will go to his grave not understanding why his grandson did what he did.
"I'm just aching to hug him and hold him like I did when he was just a tot," he said.
The 23-year-old Roof pleaded guilty Monday to all state charges, including nine counts of murder. It's part of a deal with prosecutors in exchange for a life prison sentence without parole. He could get up to 30 additional years for each of the three attempted murder charges.
He also waived his right to appeal his guilty charges which he had the right to do 10 days after his plea.
After his attorneys said they would not be bringing up the question of his competency, Roof struggled to answer the judge's questions about his previous trial.
Judge Nicholson then said he was aware of Dylann Roof's history of mental illness and substance abuse because of documents entered during the federal competency hearing. He said those documents will remained sealed but the federal court judge may release them after they have been redacted.
SPECIAL SECTION | The Emanuel AME Shooting
The self-avowed white supremacist was unapologetic at his federal trial as he heard days of testimony from survivors. In harrowing detail, they described the hail of bullets that began when parishioners closed their eyes to pray during a June 2015 Bible study at the historically black Emanuel AME Church.
After Monday's hearing, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson spoke to reporters saying the state proceedings were an "insurance policy" in the event anything were to go amiss on the federal side.
You can view her statement along with remarks from Cynthia Hurd's brother and Senator Gerald Malloy below.