The same man who boldly walked into the Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church and shot and killed nine people has the chance of avoiding the death penalty. Defense attorneys for Dylann Roof, the 22 yr. old accused of multiple murders, are now arguing that Roof should not be subject to the death penalty due to religious rights.
Roof’s attorneys are also arguing that the death penalty in itself is unconstitutional. ABC 4 News reporter, Sam Tyson, states, “In a nearly 3,000 page filing on Monday, Roof’s defense team argued federal prosecutors have not made a goose case for why the death penalty should be an option.”
Whether you are for or against the idea of the death penalty, one cannot overlook how absurd and ironic this argument is. The same young man who committed multiple murders within a place of worship is receiving special consideration within his case due to his religious rights.
A recent Buzzfeed article states:
The attorneys for Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof argue that asking potential jurors to state they are capable of imposing a death sentence “cannot be justified as having a legitimate secular purpose when it functions to skew the jury in favor of conviction” and encourages judges and prosecutors “to interrogate private citizens about their religious beliefs.”
The filing has yet to be finalized and the jury selection will begin shortly. According to the ABC 4 News article, Roof’s federal trial is set to begin on Nov. 7. Additionally, his state murder trial may start as soon as Jan. 30, depending on the jury selection.
Families and loved ones affected by the June 17, 2015 tragedy continue to persevere and pray during these times of hardship and loss.
Nadine Collier, the daughter of slain 70-year-old Ethel Lance states, “I forgive you. You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”
The Charleston church has made great strides since the tragic incident. They are continuing services and have increased their bible study supporters.