Dylann Roof won't submit evidence to spare life

© (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File) FILE - In this June 19, 2015 file photo, police tape surrounds the parking lot behind the AME Emanuel Church as FBI forensic experts work the crime scene, in Charleston, S.C. Attorneys for the man charged with…
Dylann Roof has told a judge he plans on calling no witnesses and presenting no evidence to try to convince a jury to spare his life for killing nine black Charleston church worshippers in a hate crime.

Roof told U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel at a hearing Wednesday he still plans to act as his own lawyer when the penalty phase of his federal death penalty trial begins next Tuesday.

Gergel told Roof to talk to his grandfather, who is a lawyer, and other family members one last time. He says Roof can change his mind and bring back his attorneys up until opening statements next week.

There also was argument from Roof about mystery evidence, like a photograph prosecutors want to show and video from jailhouse visits. Specifics were not given in court.


Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof won't submit evidence to save life


CHARLESTON, S.C. - Convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof has told a judge he plans on calling no witnesses and presenting no evidence to try to convince a jury to spare his life for killing nine black church worshippers in a hate crime.

Roof told U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel at a hearing Wednesday he still plans to act as his own lawyer when the penalty phase of his federal death penalty trial begins next Tuesday.

Gergel told Roof to talk to his grandfather, who is a lawyer, and other family members one last time. He said Roof can change his mind and bring back his attorneys up until opening statements next week.

There also was argument from Roof about mystery evidence, like a photograph prosecutors want to show and video from jailhouse visits. Specifics were not given in court.

Gergel scheduled a hearing Wednesday in federal court to hear motions before the penalty phase in Roof’s trial starts next week.

Roof is now acting as his own lawyer after letting go of his defense attorneys after a jury convicted him of 33 counts of hate crimes and obstruction of justice earlier this month.

Roof’s lawyers said they think he got rid of them because they wanted to present what Roof thought was embarrassing evidence seeking to get the same jury to spare his life.

In a closing argument during the guilt phase of Roof’s trial, defense attorney David Bruck conceded that Roof killed the victims and even praised the FBI investigation, but he also argued Roof was a suicidal, impressionable loner who never grasped the gravity of what he did. He asked jurors to consider what was going on in his head as he planned the killings.

The defense put up no witnesses. They tried to present evidence about his mental state, but the judge ruled it didn’t have anything to do with his guilt or innocence.

A prosecutor said that Roof was full of hate and “immense racial ignorance” when he carried out the attack. In his closing argument, assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams mocked Roof for calling himself brave in his racist-filled journal and his confession to the FBI, saying the real bravery came from the victims who tried to stop him as he fired 77 bullets.


Dylann Roof, Facing Death, Will Present No Evidence During Sentencing

Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who was found guilty of murdering nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, said Tuesday he will call no witnesses and won't present evidence during the sentencing phase of his trial.

He faces the death penalty.

Roof, 22, was convicted earlier this month of 33 counts in the June 17, 2015 massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in which Roof opened fire on worshippers at Bible study class.

Roof, who is representing himself during the penalty phase, said he does plan on making an opening statement. He previously said he does not intend to call any mental health experts at his sentencing.

The government will put 38 family members of the victims on the stand, a survivor of the shooting and any others they require to react to Roof's opening statement.

Roof, wearing a grey-and-white prison jumpsuit, mostly responded to the judge with yes or no answers, but, after confirming that he would be able to give an opening statement, Roof made a few legal requests with the help of his attorney during the trial, David Bruck.

The self-proclaimed white supremacist asked that his new visits and the incident relating to his mother be redacted from the comments hearing file when it is unsealed. Roof's mother had a heart attack during his trial.

"Last thing," Roof added, "as far as I know at this point, I won't bring any evidence at all or call any witnesses."

The jury is scheduled to return Jan. 3 to decide whether Roof, who confessed to the killings in a videotaped interview with the FBI, should be executed or spend the rest of his life in prison.

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