By Ivette Barajas, Kim Aguilar, and Alena Tran
This last Tuesday, January 10, Dylann Storm Roof was given the ultimate punishment for his crimes: the death penalty. Nearly 19 months after the attack, the victims’ families are getting the justice they’ve so longed for.
On June 17, 2015, Roof showed up to a bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in North Carolina, joined the occurring prayer service, and after about forty minutes he opened fire on everyone in his path. Roof showed no mercy whatsoever, each victim being shot numerous times. Using only a .45 caliber Glock handgun, he quickly reached 70 shots fired and nine fallen victims. The youngest victim was Tywanza Sanders; at a ripe 26 years of age. The eldest was 87 year old Susie Jackson.
Though most were quick to assume the perpetrator acted in the heat of the moment, upon further investigation, it was found that Roof had visited the church several times over the months leading up to the attack. He made a plan to attack this church, and he stuck to it. In the journal police found, as well as a website, Roof gave his opinions and beliefs on everything ranging from patriotism to Jews to Hispanics. In this manifesto, he professed that he was not raised in a ‘racist home’. As it happens, he claimed that the event that truly “awakened” him about the proclaimed “race problem” was the Travyon Martin case.
Throughout the manifesto, Roof constantly preached that black people are “stupid and violent” and that they victimize themselves in every situation and make everything about race. Additionally, he stated that black people are killing white people in the streets everyday, thus, making him feel as though he had to take charge of the situation and “ignite a race war,” in his own words.
The white supremacist exhibited no regret towards his assassinations. He wrote that although he does not regret anything, he does “feel sorry for the innocent white children forced to live in this sick country and I do feel sorry for the innocent white people that are killed daily at the hands of the lower race.” In every part of the trial, Roof showed no attempt to save his life. In fact, he gave the impression that he wanted the ultimate punishment by choosing to represent himself in the sentencing part of his federal trial, rather than getting help from lawyers, which is the usual route.
Now that Roof has come face to face with his inevitable death, self awareness and fear have driven him to plead for an appeal or retrial. Unfortunately for him, the judge doesn’t believe he deserves it as he seems to possess no remorse. Next up for Roof is enduring an everlasting wait on death row, as he anticipates his eventual execution.