CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – The Latest on the federal death penalty trial of Dylann Roof, accused of killing nine black people during a South Carolina church Bible study (all times local):
A prosecutor says the goodness of the victims who were slaughtered at a Charleston church has defeated Dylann Roof’s message of racial hatred.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams said Thursday in his closing argument that jurors should have no doubt about Roof’s guilt. He apologized before showing crime scene photos of the bodies with small pictures of each person when they were alive beside them.
Williams mocked Roof for calling his actions brave, saying the true bravery was in the black churchgoers who died trying to stop him.
Jurors will consider if Roof, who is white, is guilty of 33 charges, including hate crimes and obstruction of religion. He faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.
Federal prosecutors have started their closing argument in Dylann Roof’s death penalty trial by saying the 22-year-old white man targeted nine black church members when they were most vulnerable.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams told jurors Thursday that Roof waited until the Bible study group had its eyes closed for prayer before Roof opened fire.
Williams said he was going to concentrate less on the evidence and more on Roof’s hatred, cowardice and immense racial ignorance.
Williams says Roof believed black people were animals and less than human when he violated the sanctuary of the church and killed nine people on June 17, 2015, at Emanuel African Methodist Church.
Roof did not react to Williams’ arguments.
Roof’s attorneys will have a chance to make a closing argument.