South Carolina prosecutors announced on Friday 31st march that they would end a separate case by allowing Dyllan Roof to plead guilty to murder in exchange for a life sentence. This come Eleven weeks after a federal jury condemned him to death for killing nine Christian worshipers at a church in Charleston, S.C.,
A state grand jury indicted him for murder and attempted murder while a federal grand jury charged him with 33 counts, including hate crimes resulting in death, obstruction of exercise of religion and use of a firearm to commit murder.
The 22 year old said in confession letters that he planned the attack in hope of fomenting a race war.
After the massacre, the state and federal government announced their intention to seek the execution of Dyllan Roof.
In 2016 the United States Justice Department rejected Mr. Roof’s offer to plead guilty to the federal charges in exchange for a life sentence.
He represented himself and presented no evidence in his defense during his federal trial, he has also filed a motion in federal court seeking a new trial.
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson announced that Dylann Roof will plead guilty to state murder charges instead of go through a second trial. Mr. Roof’s state public defender, D. Ashley Pennington also confirmed the details.
Ms. Wilson said in an interview that Mr. Roof, 22, would plead guilty at a hearing on April 10 to nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder (two adults and a child survived). He then would be transferred from the Charleston County jail to a federal prison.
In her letter, Ms. Wilson described Mr. Roof’s agreement to plead guilty as “an insurance policy to the federal conviction and sentence.”
“If something very, very, very unlikely were to happen at the federal level,” she wrote, “the state sentence would take effect and he would serve life in prison. (And no more trials!)”
Many victims’ family members have opposed the death penalty for Mr. Roof.
Charleston lawyer Andrew Savage who represent survivors and families of several victims, said his clients were pleased primarily because the plea deal brings the case to a close, at least at the trial level.
“There was a sense of relief that this keeps the victims and witnesses from going through another trial, which they really did not want to do,” Mr. Savage said.