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Charleston church shooter's death sentence upheld

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof
Posted at 4:10 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 16:15:44-04

A federal appeals court refused to throw out the conviction and death sentence for Dylann Roof, according to The Associated Press.

In 2015, Roof shot and killed nine people during a bible study session at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Roof, who was 21 at the time of the shooting, was the first person sentenced to death in the U.S. for a federal hate crime, The Associated Press reports.

His attorneys filed an appeal, claiming Roof was not competent to stand trial.

However, in its ruling, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction and offered a blistering rebuke.

"Dylann Roof murdered African Americans at their church, during their Bible-study and worship," the panel of judges said in their conclusion. "They had welcomed him. He slaughtered them. He did so with the express intent of terrorizing not just his immediate victims at the historically important Mother Emanuel Church, but as many similar people as would hear of the mass murder."

CBS News reports that Roof's attorneys could ask the full 4th circuit reconsider the panel's ruling or petition U.S. Supreme Court.

Currently, there is a moratorium on federal death penalties while the Department of Justice carries out a review of its policies.