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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…

U.S. judge rejects bid for new trial for Boston Marathon bomber

'Supermax' high-security prison, Florence, Colorado
'Supermax' high-security prison, Florence, Colorado
A U.S. judge rejected on Friday a request for a new trial for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, saying the issues his attorneys raised had been resolved prior to his trial last year.

Tsarnaev was sentenced last June to death by lethal injection for his role in the 2013 bomb attack, which killed three people and injured more than 260.

The judge also ordered Tsarnaev to pay more than $101 million in restitution to victims.

U.S. District Judge George O'Toole said the court had already resolved some factors Tsarnaev's attorneys raised in seeking a new trial, such as their argument that it was impossible to seat an impartial jury in Boston due to intense publicity surrounding the attack.

"There is no reason to think that if the trial had been moved to another district, the local media in that district would not also have given it attentive coverage," O'Toole wrote in his 37-page ruling.

He also noted that defense attorney Judith Clarke admitted in her opening statements that Tsarnaev, along with his older brother Tamerlan, carried out the attack, saying "It was him."

The defense had focused on trying to spare Tsarnaev the death penalty, rather than prove his innocence.

The judge also rejected defense arguments that a new trial was justified by a Supreme Court decision, reached two days after Tsarnaev's sentencing, that a U.S. law stiffening sentences for crimes committed while in possession of a gun was overly broad.

Tsarnaev, 22, is being held at the "Supermax" high-security prison in Florence, Colorado, while his attorneys appeal his death sentence.

He was last seen in public on June 24, when he said he was "sorry for the lives I have taken."

Legal wrangling over Tsarnaev's fate could play out for years or even decades. Just three of the 74 people sentenced to death in the United States for federal crimes since 1998 have been executed.

Source: Reuters, Scott Malone, January 16, 2016

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