Dylann Roof, a white man who fatally shot nine Black parishioners as they prayed in a church, is challenging the appeals court’s ruling to uphold his death sentence conviction.
On Wednesday (Sept. 8), Roof’s legal team petitioned for the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear his argument that his trial and sentencing were flawed. “The Panel’s decision conflicts with this precedent, opening the door to death sentences based on victims’ goodness and worth,” the convicted killer’s lawyers wrote in a court filing. “Especially troubling, it sanctions reliance on victims’ religiosity as evidence of that heightened worth.”
If the U.S. Fourth Circuit grants Roof’s appeal, the case will be reheard before the entire court and will be his last resort before heading to the Supreme Court.
As REVOLT previously reported, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his conviction and death sentence last month. The three-judge panel ruled collectively that Roof was competent to stand trial. They also denied his argument that the judge overlooked evidence of his alleged mental illness.
“No cold record or careful parsing of statutes and precedents can capture the full horror of what Roof did. His crimes qualify him for the harshest penalty that a just society can impose,” the judges wrote.
Back in 2015, Roof entered the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina and opened fire on several Black parishioners who were conducting Bible study. He fatally shot nine members of the congregation as they prayed. During the mass shooting, Roof told the victims that he was killing them because Black people were “raping our women and taking over the world.”