CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – The Latest on the death penalty trial of Dylann Roof, who is charged with killing nine people during a Bible study in a Charleston church (all times local):
Dylann Roof told FBI agents in his confession to killing nine black church members in Charleston last year that he had driven by the church before the shooting and asked about worship services.
In a video played at his death penalty trial Friday, Roof says he committed the slayings because he said blacks were raping white women and killing each other. He says what he did was much more “minuscule” than that.
The FBI questioning had not been aired publicly before Friday. In the video, Roof says he chose the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in part because it’s the oldest black church in the South.
His defense team has largely conceded his guilt and has instead tried to focus on sparing him the death penalty.
Dylann Roof hesitated for only moments before confessing to killing nine black people at a Charleston church as an FBI agent questioned him less than a day after the shooting.
The videotaped interview with two FBI agents was shown Friday at Roof’s death penalty trial. After standard questions about knowing his rights, FBI agent Michael Stansbury made a minute of small talk about Roof’s family, where he went to school and what he did for a living.
When Stansbury asked Roof what happened last night, he paused for about 20 seconds. Then Roof said “Uh, I did it.”
Roof was speaking calmly. A few minutes later he said he thought he killed about five people.
Prosecutors plan to show more of Roof’s two-hour confession.
Lawyers for Dylann Roof are telling the federal judge presiding over his death penalty trial they want to be able to present more evidence about his personality and state of mind.
The lawyers filed the motion Friday, and U.S. Judge Richard Gergel said he would take up the issue on a case-by-case basis before jurors began hearing testimony.
Roof’s lawyers haven’t contested that he shot and killed nine black people in a Charleston church in a racially motivated attack in June 2015.
The filing indicates Roof’s lawyers want to include evidence that might convince jurors not to seek the death penalty before they have to leave the case. If he is found guilty, Roof has said he does not want his lawyers to represent him in the penalty phase of the trial.