Updated Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, 5 p.m. EST: Dylann Roof, the convicted white supremacist who was responsible for the murders of nine black parishioners at a historically black church, was condemned to death by a federal jury Tuesday, the New York Times reports.
The jury, consisting of nine whites and three blacks, returned a unanimous verdict after only about three hours of deliberations in the sentencing phase of the trial. It was the same jury that found Roof guilty of 33 counts for the attack at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Throughout the trial, Roof showed no remorse for his actions, insinuating that he "had to" commit the heinous crime, and writing in a jailhouse journal that he did not shed any tears for his innocent victims.
Times reporter Alan Blinder tweeted that Roof's formal sentencing hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.
The federal government has not killed a prisoner since 2003, the Times notes.
Updated Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, 4 p.m. EST: Jury deliberations for sentencing began Tuesday around 1:30 p.m. after closing statements in convicted white supremacist Dylann Roof's death penalty trial. On Tuesday, Roof gave a brief statement, once again showing no remorse for the shooting that left nine black parishioners dead at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
“I think that it’s safe to say that no one in their right mind wants to go into a church and kill people,” he began his statement, according to the New York Times.
Roof said that he could ask the jury to give him a life sentence, "but I'm not sure what good that would do."
The 22-year-old also clarified comments in which he expressed that he "had" to kill the Charleston Nine.
“Obviously, that’s not true because I didn’t have to do it,” he told the jury. “No one has to do anything. What I meant when I said that was I felt like I had to do it, and I still feel like I had to do it.”
According to the Times, Roof only spoke for about seven minutes before announcing "That's all" and returning to the defense table. In comparison, prosecutors delivered a two-hour argument in favor of the death penalty.
Roof tried to take up the issue of prosecutors’ depiction of his racism, working to distinguish between a hatred of black people and a dislike for "what black people do," as the Times notes.
Roof said, “Anyone who hates anything has a good reason for it in their mind, and sometimes that’s because they’ve been misled and sometimes it isn’t.
“Anyone, including the prosecution, who thinks I’m filled with hatred doesn’t know what real hatred is. They don’t know anything about me," he added.
Closing arguments are set to begin Tuesday in the sentencing phase of the death penalty trial of convicted murderer and white supremacist Dylann Roof, Reuters reports.
U.S. prosecutors and Roof will be presenting arguments on whether Roof should be sentenced to death or face life in prison for the murders of nine black parishioners at a historic, black South Carolina church in June 2015.
According to Reuters, U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson said Monday that he was worried about what Roof, who is representing himself, might tell jurors, who will weigh in on his sentence.
"I'm just concerned that he will bring up things that aren't in evidence and talk about his views," Richardson said in federal court, the newswire reports.
Presiding U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said that such statements will not be permitted.
Jury deliberations are expected to begin shortly after the closing statements. The same jury that found Roof guilty of 33 federal charges, including hate crimes resulting in death, will decide whether he receives the ultimate punishment.
However, if the jurors cannot reach a unanimous decision on the death penalty, the default sentence will be life in prison without the possibility of parole, Gergel said.
Jurors heard four days of testimony from prosecution witnesses during the penalty phase, during which family members and friends recounted heartfelt memories about the shooting victims at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. Prosecutors also produced evidence that Roof continued to express his white supremacist ideology after his arrest, showing no remorse in his writing in a jail-cell journal.
"I am not sorry," he wrote. "I do not shed a tear for the innocent people that I killed."
Roof opted not to offer any witnesses or evidence in his defense, merely giving a two-minute opening statement during which he insisted that there was nothing wrong with him psychologically.
Read more at Reuters.