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September 3, 2015

South Carolina prosecutors begin pursuit of death penalty again Charleston church mass murderer

As reported in this new AP piece, the "man accused of killing nine black churchgoers during a Bible study will face the death penalty, according to court documents filed Thursday." Here is more:

The documents said prosecutors would pursue the death penalty against Dylann Roof, 21, because more than two people were killed, and that others' lives were put at risk.

Prosecutors also said they intended to present evidence on Roof's mental state, adult and juvenile criminal record and other conduct, as well as his apparent lack of remorse for the killings.

Roof faces state charges including nine murder counts in the June 17 slayings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. He is expected in court again on those charges in October.

He also faces federal charges including hate crimes and obstruction of the practice of religion, some of which are also eligible for the death penalty in that system.  U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has said federal charges were necessary to adequately address a motive that prosecutors believe was unquestionably rooted in racial hate. South Carolina has no state hate crimes law.

September 3, 2015 at 04:04 PM | Permalink


I gather many of the family and friends of the victims oppose the death penalty. Is anyone upset that their interests of "justice," given their opinion of the matter, are being ignored? I personally understand the state has to make a call here but repeatedly have seen concern when the state chooses not to apply the death penalty (or doesn't have the ability to do so) that they are disrespecting the victims.

Posted by: Joe | Sep 3, 2015 4:26:41 PM

Keep in mind, many sentencing-reform advocates are against both de jure life sentences and de facto life sentences (such as consecutive 20 year terms that together total over 100 years.). I believe that Jonathan Simon, for instance, has said that the maximum sentence for any offender should be 15 years total, with additional time added at the end only if the prisoner is shown to be dangerous from a mental health standpoint.

Such views probably strike most Americans as totally inadequate for a crime of this magnitude and maliciousness -- but it's the end-goal of significant sectors of the reform movement.

Posted by: Reality check | Sep 4, 2015 12:14:53 PM

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