Dylan Roof tries to convince jurors he's not insane

Ray Hunter
January 7, 2017

Roof was found guilty on all 33 counts in his federal hate crimes trial on Dec.15, when he was represented by renowned anti-death penalty lawyer, David Bruck.

Six weeks after he shot and killed nine people at a Charleston church, Dylann Roof lamented in a jailhouse journal that he could no longer go to the movies or eat good food.

As the Times notes, even if Roof is sentenced to death, his case could trigger years of appeals, for which he will not be guaranteed the right of self-representation as he has opted to do thus far.

Representing himself during the penalty phase of his death penalty trial, convicted church killer Dylann Roof told jurors that there is nothing wrong with him psychologically. His remarks were brief, focused only on defending his decision to dismiss his lawyers for this phase of the trial.

Roof's lawyers indicated he wanted to represent himself because he was anxious they might present embarrassing evidence about him or his family.

"The point is I'm not going to lie to you", Roof said. "Other than the fact that I trust people that I shouldn't and the fact that I'm probably better at constantly embarrassing myself than anyone who's ever existed, there's nothing wrong with me psychologically". Jurors saw a video of him matter-of-factly confessing to the crime in an interview with Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and even chuckling at times.

Judge Gergel granted a request from Roof to have an extra day to prepare his defense after a competency hearing was held to decide if Roof remained competent to stand trial and self-represent.

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Roof, who asked a judge at a hearing last week if he could file a motion limiting what prosecutors can introduce, also has been adamant a transcript of his competency hearing could not be released to the public.

Gergel said he considered allowing an open hearing and sequestering jurors, but said he was concerned that would stress them.

Acting as his own attorney, the white supremacist spoke directly to the same jurors who, last month, convicted him in the 2015 massacre at Emanuel AME Church. In a confession taped shortly after he was taken into custody, Roof made plain his racial motivations, adding: "I am guilty". "We all know I'm guilty". After a three-week break over the holidays, jurors are now tasked with the ultimate fate of the 22-year-old who confessed his role in the shootings to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents hours after his arrest. In the run-up to the federal death penalty trial, other victims' family members have said they favored the death penalty for Roof, sentiments echoed by some in media interviews after the guilty verdict.

Any of the murders would justify the death penalty, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams said in his opening statement.

In his journal, which was read in court during his trial, Roof said his doesn't believe in psychology, which he called "a Jewish invention" that "does nothing but invent diseases and tell people they have problems when they don't".

"I would like to make it crystal clear, I do not regret what I did", Roof wrote. "I did all I can do, now it is in the hands of my brothers". Williams told jurors they would hear extensive testimony about the nine victims, including pastor and state Sen.

Prosecutors said they may call as many as three dozen witnesses to testify during the sentencing phase.

Other reports by MyHealthBowl

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