"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Jury in Dylann Roof death penalty trial expected to start deliberations Tuesday

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Federal prosecutors are nearing the end of their presentation to convince jurors that Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof deserves to be executed, and the presiding judge said he expects jurors will begin deliberations in the case Tuesday.

On Friday, the third day of the penalty phase in the trial, prosecutors again highlighted Roof’s racist writings, and the impact his crime had on those whose loved ones were killed. FBI Agent Joseph Hamski read aloud some of Roof’s rants in a journal found in his jail cell and his online communications, where Roof proclaimed that white women who date black men are “race-traitors” and bemoaned that more people would not take hateful action.

“If we were to, for example, become completely ruthless with blacks, or implement a harsh eugenics program, who could stop us?” Roof wrote in his journal.

Roof, 22, was convicted last month of federal hate crimes for his 2015 rampage at Charleston’s historic Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where he fatally shot nine parishioners because they were black. Jurors are now considering whether he should face the death penalty or life in prison.

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel said Friday that he will provide proposed jury instructions to prosecutors and Roof over the weekend, and he hopes the case will be in the jury’s hands by Tuesday. Prosecutors had already indicated that they expect to rest their case Monday, and Roof, who is representing himself, has said he will present no evidence. Gergel said he will then send jurors home and bring them back for closing arguments the following day.

When jurors’ deliberations begin, they will weigh whether the aggravating factors in the case — Roof’s motivation, his lack of remorse and the impact of his crimes on the victims’ loved ones — outweigh any mitigating evidence, such as Roof’s offer to plead guilty or the possibility that he could change.

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Source: Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky, January 6, 2017


With federal case nearing end, judge indefinitely delays Dylann Roof's state trial


Jury box
With Dylann Roof's federal death penalty trial nearing an end, a judge on Thursday indefinitely delayed a state proceeding that was scheduled for later this month.

State authorities were the first to charge Roof, 22, in the June 17, 2015, racially motivated attack that killed nine black worshipers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. But with that murder case moving toward trial last year, federal prosecutors decided to also pursue the death penalty, and a judge set an earlier date for the hate crimes trial in U.S. District Court.

It was the 1st time both state and federal prosecutors simultaneously pursued a defendant's execution.

Roof is now representing himself in the penalty phase of his federal trial. His state case was to be heard Jan. 17, but Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson signed paperwork delaying it "until further order of this court."

Nicholson noted in the filing the ongoing federal trial.

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson is leading the state's prosecution of Roof on nine counts of murder, three of attempted murder and a firearms charge.

She lamented the federal trial's earlier date when it was set last year. At one point, she pointed out the federal government's track record for actually carrying out executions and said the federal proceeding would have "little or no relevance to the defendant's ultimate fate."

But it remains unclear how she will proceed with the prosecution after a jury decides Roof's sentence on his 33 federal convictions.

"We have been closely monitoring and in constant consultation with the federal prosecutors who have done an outstanding job," she said Thursday. "Our plans have not changed, but we will continue to re-evaluate as the circumstances dictate."

Source: postandcourier.com, January 7, 2017

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