Dylann Roof Pleads Guilty to State Murder Charges in Church Massacre

A much anticipated announcement has come from white supremacist Dylann Roof in Charleston, South Carolina.

Roof agreed to a sentence of life without parole in state court and no appeals in return for prosecutors dropping the death penalty.

Roof was sentenced to death January 10, 2017, the first time a death penalty verdict was rendered in a federal hate crimes case, the Justice Department said.

An uncommon scenario played out in a SC courtroom moments after Dylann Roof entered guilty pleas on nine state-level murder charges, three state-level attempted murder charges, and one state-level gun charge.

Monday's hearing "could be one of the last times for victims and their family members to have Roof hear their words", the Post and Courier reported.

Roof opened fire on a Wednesday night on June 17, 2015, after sitting almost an hour with members of a small Bible study group.

South Carolina's inability to carry out death penalty was one of the reasons the Charleston-area solicitor chose not to continue with a second death penalty trial against Dylann Roof, she said Monday.

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The judge asked Roof various questions about his competency, whether or not he understood what he was pleading to, and understood the consequences. We're just as sorry as we can be that this has happened. He faces the death penalty at the federal level.

Roof was sentenced to death early this year on 33 federal charges related to the June 2015 slaughter at Emanuel AME Church. It means no state trial or sentencing phase will be necessary.

The 23-year-old was given life in prison in exchange for the guilty plea, sparing survivors and the families of the victims a second emotional trial.

Though Roof met the criteria for social anxiety disorder, mixed substance abuse disorder, schizoid personality disorder, depression, and possible autistic spectrum disorder, the psychiatrist determined none of those conditions rendered him incompetent to stand trial, the ruling stated.

Survivors and family members of those killed were allowed to address Nicholson before the sentence was handed down.

Newly-released documents in the Dylann Roof federal trial include a handwritten letter to prosecutors in which he claimed his defense attorneys used scare tactics, threats, manipulation and outright lies against him.

The judge also heard from Roof's grandfather, Columbia attorney Joe Roof. Eric Manning, the current pastor, described the church's role in the community and promised that the church would remain a place where love conquers hate. He has been held at the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center in Charleston County awaiting his state trial.

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