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Dylann Roof faces death penalty after being found guilty of killing nine people

The 22-year-old shot nine black people dead in a racially-motivated attack in South Carolina last year.

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof
Image: Charleston County Sheriff's Office via AP

A FEDERAL JURY has convicted Dylann Roof in the racially motivated slayings of nine black church members in South Carolina.

The jury reached its verdict after less than two hours of deliberations. They convicted the 22-year-old white man of hate crimes and other charges.

They will reconvene next month to decide whether he should get the death penalty or be sentenced to life in prison.

Roof just stared ahead as the verdict was read, much as he has throughout the trial.

Jurors heard from witnesses who testified that Roof made multiple trips to Charleston in the months before the June 2015 attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. They also heard from two survivors. Roof’s attorneys called no witnesses.

Prosecutors said in their closing arguments Roof was filled with hate and has already confessed to the FBI to his role in the shootings.

Defence attorney David Bruck conceded in his closing argument today that Roof killed the victims. But he also argued Roof was a suicidal, impressionable loner who never grasped the gravity of what he did.

Prosecutors successfully objected to several of Bruck’s arguments as he tried to argue Roof’s mental status. A judge has ruled that talking about his mental state is reserved for the next phase when jurors — if they find Roof guilty — will decide he if faces the death penalty.

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Associated Press

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