The verdict is in. Dylann Roof, the young man who entered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and prayed with the parishioners before opening fire, has been found guilty on all 33 federal charges. He may now face the death penalty.
On June 17, 2015 Roof killed nine people at the Charleston, South Carolina church, including the church’s pastor. One other person was injured.
In a show of remarkable grace, family members of those slain offered Roof forgiveness for his heinous act in court just days after the massacre.
The federal prosecutor argued in court, though, that Roof needs to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
“He needs to be held accountable for every bullet,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams told the jury on Thursday, shortly before the jury went into deliberate on Roof’s fate.
“The parishioners could not have seen the hatred in his heart,” Williams continued on. “He sat and waited until they were at their most vulnerable.”
After entering the jury room, the jury members asked to review a tape of Roof’s confession to the FBI. They emerged shortly after with a guilty verdict.
The penalty phase will begin in January. Roof could face the death penalty, a measure some of the victims’ family members oppose.