It took less than two hours for the jury to find Dylann Roof guilty in the shootings at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in June of 2015 that resulted in nine deaths and three other being seriously injured. Made up of eight white women, two black women, one white man and one black man, the jury heard closing arguments on Thursday morning. Roof’s attorney, who did not call any witnesses, argued that the jury should consider why Roof did what he did. The jury went into deliberations around 1 pm Eastern time. A little more than an hour later, the jury requested the judge to clarify instructions and to view Roof’s taped confession. The jury found Roof guilty of all 33 counts of the indictment for federal hate crimes, including murder, attempted murder, damage to religious property and obstruction of religious beliefs. Dylann Roof showed no emotion as the verdict was read.
The penalty phase of the trial will begin on January 3rd of next year. The federal prosecutors have indicated that they will be seeking the death penalty against Roof. After the verdict was read, the judge asked Dylann Roof if he still wished to defend himself during the penalty phase of the trial to which he responded that he did. Roof has stated that he had been inspired by reading about “black on white crime” after Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman.