Dylann Roof is seen in his booking photo after he was apprehended in the June 17, 2015, mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., that left nine people dead at one of the nation’s oldest black churches.
Charleston County, S.C., Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images

Federal prosecutors are trying to obtain the death penalty against Dylann Roof, 22, who is charged with opening fire in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., on June 17, 2015, killing nine black worshippers during their Bible-study session.

Roof's attorneys, however, are arguing that the death penalty is unconstitutional and that he therefore should not receive it because it's "cruel and unusual punishment," according to Reuters.

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Prosecutors suggested that Roof singled out people who were black and elderly, which was one of the factors that played a role in their decision to seek the death penalty.

According to Reuters, while Roof faces several federal charges, he is also facing charges of murder and attempted murder by state prosecutors in South Carolina.

Read more at Reuters.