The federal death penalty trial for Dylann Roof, the 22-year-old White man who fatally wounded nine Black worshipers in a Charleston, SC, church last year is set to begin, ABC New reports.
Opening arguments in the federal case against Roof are expected to take place Wednesday.
Roof is accused of killing the parishioners during Bible study at the predominantly Black Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015. Roof was arrested a day after the murders in Shelby, North Carolina, a town about 250 miles north of Charleston.
A federal indictment states that Roof maintained a website where he posted “a manuscript and photographs expressing his racist beliefs.” The indictment also says Roof used racial slurs and decried integration in the manuscript.
In the months before the shooting, Roof “decided to attack African-Americans because of their race,” the indictment reads. The document contents that he selected a predominantly Black church “to make his attack more notorious.”
Roof is facing 33 counts in the federal trial: counts 1-9, hate crime act resulting in death, counts 10-12, hate crime act involving an attempt to kill, counts 13-21, obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death, counts 22-24, obstruction of exercise of religion involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon, counts 25-33, use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence.
“I forgive you,” the daughter of victim Ethel Lance said to Roof, who appeared at a bond hearing via video conferencing from jail. “You took something very precious from me and I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”
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