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A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof

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“What are you?” a member of the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston asked at the trial of the white man who killed eight of her fellow black parishioners and their pastor. “What kind of subhuman miscreant could commit such evil?... What happened to you, Dylann?”
Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah spent months in South Carolina searching for an answer to those questions—speaking with Roof’s mother, father, friends, former teachers, and victims’ family members, all in an effort to unlock what went into creating one of the coldest killers of our time.
Sitting beside the church, drinking from a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, he thought he had to go in and shoot them.
They were a small prayer group—a rising-star preacher, an elderly minister, eight women, one young man, and a little girl. But to him, they were a problem. He believed that, as black Americans, they were raping “our women and are taking over our country.” So he took out his Glock handgun and calmly, while their eyes were closed in prayer, ope…

Death penalty defense costs Colorado taxpayers millions

Robert Dear Jr.
Robert Dear Jr.
DENVER - If prosecutors decide the Colorado Springs accused killer, Robert Dear Jr., should suffer the death penalty, it will cost Colorado taxpayers millions.

Denver7 Investigator John Ferrugia has, for the first time, obtained information from the state offices tasked with providing a defense to the accused who cannot defend themselves.

Taxpayers in the state of Colorado have spent nearly $33 million defending suspects in death penalty cases over the past 13 years, according to records obtained by Denver7.

There are two public offices in the state that provide defense services for suspects: the Office of the State Public Defender (OPSD) and the Alternative Defense Council (ADC). ADC provides defense services when the State Public Defender is found to have a conflict of interest, or when there is more than one defendant in a single case.

Between 2002 and December of 2015, OPSD said it has spent about $6.3 million on 10 death penalty cases. That cost includes expenses and salaries. OPSD said it did not hire any staff members specifically for any particular death penalty cases.

The ADC said it has paid representatives at the trial level, for appeals, post-conviction and miscellaneous legal representation about $26.2 million on behalf of 17 individual defendants.

It is unclear how many cases were handled at some point by both offices, because neither office could not provide records related to specific cases, citing Colorado Supreme Court rules forbidding the release of individual case information without client consent. But in some cases, the trial defense is provided by OPSD while appeal arguments are handled by ADC. So the total number of cases involved is fewer than 27.

The most recent high-profile death penalty case involved Aurora theater gunman James Holmes.

The public defender’s office could not release the specific costs of defending Holmes, but prosecutors estimated it spent about $1.4 million on the lengthy case, not counting the salaries of attorneys and staffers assigned to the trial.

A jury ultimately sentenced Holmes to life in prison. The sheriff’s office said it spent roughly $1.6 million detaining, transporting, and protecting Holmes and the courtroom during the trial prior to his final sentencing.

Prosecutors have not announced whether they plan to seek the death penalty against accused Planned Parenthood gunman Robert Lewis Dear. Prosecutors say Dear murdered three people, including a police officer, and wounded nine more in the Colorado Springs clinic the day after Thanksgiving.


Source: The Denver Channel, December 1, 2015

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