CHARLESTON, South Carolina– Dylann Roof, who shot nine black worshipers to death during a Bible study, told a jury on Wednesday that he’s not crazy.
Acting as his own attorney, the convicted killer told a jury considering whether or not to sentence him to death that he is not mentally ill. Aside from having a knack for embarrassing himself more than anyone else in the world, Roof told a jury, “there’s nothing wrong with me psychologically.”
Speaking softly and dressed in a grey sweater, Roof explained why he decided to represent himself during the sentencing portion of his federal trial for the killing of nine people at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in downtown Charleston on June 17, 2015.
“It isn’t because I have an illness I don’t want you to know about,” said Roof, whose defense attorneys had previously tried to argue Roof was not mentally competent to stand trial. “It isn’t because I’m trying to keep a secret from you.”
“I’m not going to lie to you either by myself or through anyone else,” said Roof, who previously wrote in a journal that he considered psychology "a Jewish invention (that) does nothing but invent diseases and tell people they have problems when they dont.”
Roof, who had told his black shooting victims during the massacre that “y’all are raping our women and y’all are taking over our world,” offered no explanation Wednesday for why he killed the nine churchgoers, aged 26 to 87.
He also offered no apology.
Instead of being remorseful, Roof was chagrined that the results of two court-ordered psychiatric evaluations he underwent in recent weeks would eventually be made public. He asked that the jury forget some of the comments made by his former attorney, renowned death penalty expert David Bruck, regarding Roof’s mental health.
And then he abruptly sat down.
Minutes earlier, the federal government alleged Roof was unrepentant for his crimes. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams referenced a note found in Roof’s jail cell in Charleston in August 2015, six weeks after the shooting, a part of which read:
“I would like to make it crystal clear I do not regret what I did. I am not sorry I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed. I do feel sorry for the innocent white children forced to live in this sick country and I do feel sorry for the innocent white people that are killed daily at the hands of the lower races. I have shed a tear of self pity for myself. I feel pity that I had to do what I did in the first place. I feel pity that I had to give up my life because of a situation that should never have existed.”
Williams argued to the jury that this lack of remorse and Roof’s ongoing racial hatred justified the death penalty over life imprisonment.
“The murder of anyone person is horrific…this case is worse,” said Williams. “It is worse because it wasn’t just one person…he killed nine people…It is worse because of the reason he killed those people. He killed them because of the color of their skin, because he thought they were less than people.”