Investigators describe scene at church shooting

  • Investigators describe scene at church shooting

Investigators describe scene at church shooting

Roof faces 33 federal charges: nine counts of violating the Hate Crime Act resulting in death; three counts of violating the Hate Crime Act involving an attempt to kill; nine counts of obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death; three counts of obstruction of exercise of religion involving an attempt to kill and use of a unsafe weapon; and nine counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said he viewed Sanders' comments as a religious statement and not an opinion about sentencing.

For instance, in the recent Boston Marathon bombing case, the federal government successfully pursued Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's death. Another prayed, and Richardson said Roof told her to "shut up", and said he kept her alive to be a witness to what happened.

The judge denied the request for a mistrial which would have meant the whole trial would start over with 12 new jurors.

In addition to Sanders' son, the other victims of the massacre are: the pastor of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney; the Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, a high school speech pathologist and track coach; Cynthia Hurd, 54, a county library manager; Ethel Lee Lance, 70, a longtime church member and sexton; the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49, a college enrollment counselor; the Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons Sr., 74, a retired pastor who filled in part-time at the church; and Myra Thompson, 59, an English teacher and guidance counselor.

Richardson told jurors that during a two-hour confession Roof revealed he chose Charleston because it's an historic city and targeted the church on Calhoun Street because it is the oldest AME church in the South, and because of its significance to the African American community.

Felicia Sanders and her 11-year-old granddaughter played dead amid the carnage.

The first witnesses were expected to take the stand in the early afternoon.

Three people survived the shooting, including Polly Sheppard.

At one point, an agent asked if Roof thought about killing more blacks. He sat at the defense table during jury questioning still garbed in his grey striped prison jumpsuit, asking questions and making objections as the victims' loved ones and survivors watched on. He asked Gergel to allow his defense attorneys to represent him again but only during the guilt phase, when prosecutors must prove he committed the crimes.

Gergel agreed, saying Roof had a constitutional right to decide his representation.

But Roof's trial shouldn't be so hard fought. Prosecutors say Roof, who's white, opened fire on the victims during a Bible study on June 17, 2015 because they were black.

The second part of the trial is the penalty phase. Yet, learning more about Roof's virulent ideology also could help people grasp how a person comes to those views, Ricco said.

Shelby resident William Gault said he watches TV every day to keep up with the case. Those officers described pulling Roof over, seeing a gun under a pillow in the vehicle, and arresting him. He then left the church. We want to warn viewers that they might find it disturbing.

"Unraveling the why is our spiritual release of racism", Ricco said.