On Tuesday afternoon, in a unanimous decision, a jury found Dylann Roof guilty on all charges and agreed on a death sentence for him.
Roof is charged with 33 different counts, including hate crimes. He is charged with nine counts of murder and firearm charges in the church shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17.
Roof will become the first federal hate crime defendant to be sentenced to death, a Justice Department spokesman said.
Roof looked down silently as the jury announced their decision for his fate.
The defense for Roof expressed their sympathy in a statement.
“We want to express our sympathy to all of the families who were so grievously hurt by Dylann Roof’s actions,” Roof’s defense said. “Today’s sentencing decision means that this case will not be over for a very long time. We are sorry that, despite our best efforts, the legal proceedings have shed so little light on the reasons for this tragedy.”
Despite the events that took place, Roof’s family said they will always love him.
“We will struggle as long as we live to understand why he committed this horrible attack, which caused so much pain to so many good people,” they added. “We wish to express the grief we feel for the victims of his crimes, and our sympathy to the many families he has hurt.”
Roof, who represented himself, said he had “no choice.”
“There’s nothing wrong with me psychologically,” Roof said during his brief opening statement.
“In my confession to the FBI I told them that I had to do it, and obviously that’s not really true. … I didn’t have to do anything,” Roof said as he made his own five-minute closing argument in the penalty phase of his federal trial. “But what I meant when I said that was, I felt like I had to do it, and I still do feel like I had to do it.”
Roof wrote letters to his parents while in jail. In the letters, Roof continues to apologize for his actions saying that he knows it will affect his family, too.
In his letter to his mom, he wrote, “At this moment I miss you very much. And as childish as it sounds, I wish I was in your arms.”
In part of his letter to his dad, he said, “I love you and I’m sorry. You were a good dad.”