Dylann Roof’s ass gon’ die. Eventually.
The mass murderer and racist who killed nine Black people in a church in South Carolina in 2015 has lost his appeal to challenge his death sentence and conviction. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that it was denying Roof’s request for a hearing before a full appellate court.
His petition that substitute judges from other circuits be designated to consider his case was also denied, according to the Associated Press. This is part of an ongoing appeals process that The Root has covered before.
All of the 4th Circuit judges have recused themselves from Roof’s case, which was an uncommon aspect to his appeals process. Judge Hay Richardson, for example, prosecuted Roof’s case as an assistant U.S. attorney.
In 2017, Richardson led that case against Roof, which led to the killer being the first person in the U.S. sentenced to death for a federal hate crime. Roof viciously opened fire during the closing of prayer at a Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He was 21 at the time.
Here is more from AP:
In his appeal, Roof’s attorneys argued he was wrongly allowed to represent himself during sentencing, a critical phase of his trial. Roof successfully prevented jurors from hearing evidence about his mental health, “under the delusion,” his attorneys wrote, that “he would be rescued from prison by white-nationalists — but only, bizarrely, if he kept his mental-impairments out of the public record.”
In May, a panel composed of judges from several other appellate circuits heard Roof’s case. Three months later, those judges rendered their decision, unanimously upholding his conviction and death sentence and issuing a scathing rebuke of Roof’s crimes.
“No cold record or careful parsing of statutes and precedents can capture the full horror of what Roof did,” the judges wrote. “His crimes qualify him for the harshest penalty that a just society can impose.”
Roof subsequently asked that a full appellate court consider his case, arguing that the panel’s decision interpreted too broadly the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which authorizes Congress to regulate commerce among the states. Government lawyers opposed that notion, arguing that prosecutors had proven their case.
On Monday, the 4th Circuit wrote it “declines to take the unprecedented step” of seeking a full substitute court to consider Roof’s request for a new appellate hearing, citing U.S. Supreme Court precedence that “only judges of the Circuit who are in regular active service may make the determination to rehear a case en banc.”
Roof could file a 2255 appeal, or request that the trial court review the constitutionality of his conviction and sentence if he can’t get a direct appeal. Also at his disposal is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court or seeking a presidential pardon, AP notes.