Dylann Roof, the man who killed nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015 was on Wednesday sentenced to death by a Federal Judge as recommended by the Jury.
Some family members of those killed, who where in court when the sentencing was delivered had some words for Roof.
“Dylann … Dylann! I know you can hear me,” said Janet Scott, Tywanza Sanders’ aunt. “Even as (Tywanza) knelt there and asked you why you were doing this, he was showing you love. He was showing you that one last chance, but you chose not to instead.”
In his statement, Dan Simmons Jr., son to Rev. Simmons opened his statement by telling Roof, “I understand why you don’t want to look at us, so I will speak to the spirit that possesses you.”
Simmons continued, “Look at the love this nation, this holy city has poured out. You don’t have to look at me. But I see that spirit. I want you to think about that as I forgive for your act, for your actions. … Know you have an opportunity to ask for forgiveness. Know that God will forgive you. … If you choose to serve him, you will have a better life. I hear you breathing all the way over here. Speak to that spirit that’s inside you.”
On her part, Gayle Jackson, niece of Susie Jackson wished that Roof’s soul rots in hell.
“My mother can’t even step a foot into church,” she said. “And for you to sit here every day — I was here from the beginning to the end — and never, ever apologise … was hurtful. I pray that your soul go to hell.
On Tuesday, when the Jury made its decision, Roof, 22, expressed no remorse during his closing argument. He insisted that he had no choice but to kill nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015.
“I felt like I had to do it, and I still do feel like I had to do it,” he said.
Roof is also set to be tried on state murder charges, and prosecutors are also seeking the death penalty in that case.
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.