Charleston church gunman sentenced to death killings

Dylann Roof did not plea for his life on Tuesday during a statement to the jury

In this June 18, 2015, file photo, Charleston, S.C., shooting suspect Dylann Storm Roof, center, is escorted from the Shelby Police Department in Shelby, N.C.
In this June 18, 2015, file photo, Charleston, S.C., shooting suspect Dylann Storm Roof, center, is escorted from the Shelby Police Department in Shelby, N.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A federal jury has sentenced Dylann Roof to death for killing nine black church members in a racially motivated attack in 2015.

Roof, who is white, faced either life in prison or execution for the slayings on June 17, 2015. The Justice Department says he is the first person to get the death penalty for federal hate crimes.

The jury reached a decision after about three hours of deliberations.

Roof was convicted last month of all 33 federal charges against him. During sentencing, he represented himself and told jurors he didn’t have a mental illness. But he didn’t offer any remorse or ask that his life be spared.

He told a jury, “I still feel like I had to do it.”

“I have the right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I’m not sure what good it would do anyway,” he said.

Roof paused several times, but jurors never took their eyes off him. After one of the pauses, he abruptly said, “That’s all,” quickly gathered his sheet of paper and walked back to the defense table.

Roof told FBI agents he wanted to bring back segregation or perhaps start a race war with the slayings.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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