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'There's nothing wrong with me psychologically': Mass killer Dylann Roof refuses to apologise

Roof shot dead nine people in a church in South Carolina in 2015.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

DYLANN ROOF, the self-described white supremacist who gunned down nine black churchgoers in a South Carolina church, offered no apology or motive for his actions as a jury began considering whether to sentence him to death.

The same federal jury that found Roof guilty last month of all 33 federal hate crime charges in connection with the June 2015 killings is now tasked with deciding whether he will face execution or life in prison.

“There’s nothing wrong with me psychologically,” insisted Roof, who has chosen to represent himself in the proceedings, rebuffing advice from his lawyers and the presiding federal judge.

His opening statement to the court, delivered in a barely audible voice, directly contradicted claims by his lawyers that he is not mentally fit. US District Judge Richard Gergel has found the 22-year-old competent to stand trial-twice.

CORRECTION Charleston Shooting Dylann Roof is escorted from the Shelby Police Department in North Carolina in 2015. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Federal prosecutors launched the day with their opening statement, reading from written notes confiscated from Roof in prison in August 2015.

“I would like to make it crystal clear I do not regret what I did. I am not sorry,” Assistant US Attorney Nathan Williams quoted the note as saying.

“I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed.”

Roof went on: “I do feel sorry for the innocent white children forced to live in this sick country and I do feel sorry for the innocent white people who are killed daily at the hands of the lower races.”

Williams said Roof’s “horrific acts justify” capital punishment.

Counting Hate Q And A The Emanuel Church where the shooting occurred. Source: Stephen B. Morton/PA

“He killed nine people, and for that reason this case is worse,” he said.

“It is worse because of the reason he killed those people. He killed them because of the color of their skin, because he thought they were less than people. This case is worse because of the premeditation.”

Bloodbath

It took the jury just two hours to convict him of the 17 June, 2015 killings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic black church in downtown Charleston known as ‘Mother Emanuel’.

Parishioners attending a Bible study group had just begun their closing prayer when the self-avowed Nazi and Ku Klux Klan sympathiser opened fire, firing 77 bullets in a horrific bloodbath that shocked the nation.

Charleston Church Shooting Roof at an earlier court hearing. Source: AP/Press Association Images

The victims, who had welcomed Roof into the church, ranged in age from 26 to 87.

During the first phase of the trial, Roof made no attempt to explain his crimes and exhibited no signs of remorse as survivors recounted the rampage in heart-rending detail.

A video of Roof’s chilling confession to the killings was shown to the jury.

“Somebody had to do something because black people are killing white people every day,” Roof said without emotion to the FBI special agent questioning him. “They rape 100 white people a day.”

A verdict in the sentencing phase is expected in the coming days.

© AFP 2017

Comments have been disabled as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

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