Nine Consecutive Life Sentences Added to Dylann Roof's Punishment

Originally, 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson was pursuing the death penalty for the nine murder charges, but she later revealed that she would be accepting the guilty plea instead.

But despite the state court sentencing, Roof could still be executed - a jury sentenced Roof to death on federal hate crime charges in January.

Judge J.C. Nicholson imposed the sentences following a hearing in which church members and Roof's grandfather testified about the personal toll of the case.

As part of the state plea agreement, Roof will be transferred to a prison outside of SC to await his execution, according to the Associated Press.

Roof has been in prison since his June 2015 massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where he walked into the church's weekly Bible study and stayed for nearly an hour before opening fire on worshippers. Pennington said Roof's mother wanted the court to know that she had "expressed to me the love of her son".

"My lawyers have purposely kept me in the dark about my defense until the last minute in order to prevent me from being able to do anything about it, which is why I have been forced to write to you", he stated.

And he'll get a life sentence that runs concurrently with his federal death sentence on hate crimes from the attack upon the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Just days after Roof wrote his letters to prosecutors saying his lawyers were working against him, attorney Sarah Gannett discussed Roof's anger at possibly being found mentally incompetent in a motion requesting more time to conduct a hearing to determine if Roof was competent to be his own lawyer.

Roof opened fire on a Wednesday night on June 17, 2015, after sitting almost an hour with members of a small Bible study group.

Roof was previously sentenced to death on federal murder charges.

Savage said Felicia Sanders, who watched as both her son and her aunt died in the shootings, summed up her feelings in two words: "Praise God".

Roof's public defender, Ashley Pennington, first said he suspected no one from Roof's family would want to speak.

A video interview of Roof conducted by an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent shortly after he was captured was also played in court.

But Eva Dilligard, whose sister Susie Jackson was killed by Roof, said: "I think somebody doing something like that, he should get death". We have them in our prayers every night, every meal. "I come here today not to do anything more than to thank the court system and on behalf of my family say that we are pleased with everything that has been done". Roof, emotionless, refused to make eye contact and stood by his decision to carry out the sinister killing spree. He was sentenced to death during a separate proceeding earlier this year.

  • Larry Hoffman