الارشيف / أخبار العالم / مفكرة الاسلام

Fury, forgiveness at South Carolina church gunman's sentencing

Dylann Roof is shown in this courtroom sketch in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jerry Mcjunkins

By Harriet McLeod | CHARLESTON, S.C.

CHARLESTON, S.C. White supremacist Dylann Roof, condemned to death for the brutal mass shooting at a Charleston, South Carolina, church, heard forgiveness and fury at his sentencing hearing on Wednesday from grieving loved ones of the nine slain black parishioners.

Some victims' family members called Roof, 22, evil and deserving of the death penalty for the June 17, 2015, attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest African-American congregation in the U.S. South.

"I want your soul to burn in hell," said Gayle Jackson, a niece of 87-year-old victim Susie Jackson.

Others said their faith required them to forgive. Those words echoed comments at Roof's first court appearance after the shooting 19 months ago, where several relatives of victims shocked the country with their merciful tone toward the suspect.

"I wanted to hate you, God, I wanted to hate you, but my faith told me no," Bethane Middleton Brown, sister of victim DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49, said on Wednesday.

A jury of nine whites and three blacks last month found Roof guilty of 33 federal charges, including hate crimes and obstruction of religion. On Tuesday, the jurors recommended he be put to death.

Wednesday's sentencing is a formality. Roof, who also faces a death sentence if convicted of state murder charges, is unlikely to be executed any time soon due to a lengthy appeals process.

"I wish they could enact another law to cut off a limb each time you go up to appeal," said Tyrone Sanders, whose son Tywanza Sanders, 26, died in the shooting.

Clementa Pinckney, 41, the church’s pastor and a state senator; Sharonda Coleman Singleton, 45; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Ethel Lance, 70; Myra Thompson, 59; and Daniel Simmons Sr., 74, also were killed.

Roof represented himself during the penalty phase of his trial and did not argue for his life to be spared.

He refused to look at the family members as they spoke at the sentencing hearing.

Felicia Sanders, 59, witnessed the death of her son and fellow churchgoers who had gathered to study scripture. Holding her blood-stained Bible, she told Roof she no longer felt comfortable closing her eyes to pray after he opened fire while their heads were bowed for a benediction.

"You're in my head every day," she said. "Yes I forgave you. That was the easiest thing I had to do. But you can't help someone who won't help themselves."

(Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Alan Crosby and Andrew Hay)

Next In World News

Killer Breivik wants to spread ever more radical Nazi ideology -Norway

SKIEN, Norway Mass killer Anders Behring Breivik wants to spread his ever more radical Nazi-style ideology, Norway's attorney general said on Wednesday in defending Breivik's near-isolation in jail after a court ruled the conditions breached his rights.

Russia's Chechnya chief says dozens of militants captured - reports

MOSCOW Dozens of militants were detained and four of them killed in a security operation in Russia's southern region of Chechnya on Wednesday, the provincial head was quoted by local news agencies as saying.

U.S. slaps sanctions on seven North Koreans, two DPRK entities

WASHINGTON The U.S. Treasury Department said on Wednesday it had added seven North Koreans and and two North Korean government entities to its sanctions list.

MORE FROM REUTERS

Sponsored Content

From Around the Web Promoted by Taboola

اشترك فى النشرة البريدية لتحصل على اهم الاخبار بمجرد نشرها

تابعنا على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعى

قد تقرأ أيضا