South Carolina church gunman objects to
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[January 06, 2017]
By Harriet McLeod
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - Convicted
murderer Dylann Roof said on Thursday tearful testimony by family
members of those slain in the South Carolina church massacre was
excessive and would prejudice jurors who will decide whether he should
be sentenced to death.
The 22-year-old white supremacist, found guilty last month of killing
nine black people at Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal
Church in 2015, said in written motions it was unfair for federal
prosecutors to pile on given he does not plan to present any mitigating
Roof is serving as his own lawyer during the penalty phase of his
Roof objected to prosecutors' initial plans to call 38 survivors and
friends to detail the effects of the murders because that was the same
number of witnesses who testified against Oklahoma City bomber Timothy
McVeigh after he was convicted of killing 168 people.
"If I don't present any mitigation evidence, the victim-impact evidence
will take over the whole sentencing trial and guarantee that I get the
death penalty," Roof said in one of several motions decrying
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel urged prosecutors to pare down their
witness list as jurors heard from victims' loved ones for a second day.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson said prosecutors were making
adjustments but noted the large number of victims resulted from Roof's
Nine family and friends remembered Myra Thompson, Sharonda
Coleman-Singleton, DePayne Middleton Doctor and the Reverend Daniel
Simmons, who attended the Bible study meeting where Roof opened fire.
Thompson's daughter, Denise Quarles, said she was angry Roof killed her
in their beloved church.
"It pisses me off, but I won't let what happened in that church stop me
from being there," Quarles told jurors.
[to top of second column]
State senator Gerald Malloy (R), testifies in this court sketch at
the trial of Dylann Roof, who is facing the death penalty for the
hate-fueled killings of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South
Carolina, U.S., January 4, 2017. REUTERS/ Robert Maniscalco
Roof offered no defense or apology for his crimes during his brief
opening statement on Wednesday, instead insisting to jurors he is not
He has asked no questions of the prosecution witnesses and has not
objected in court to any testimony.
Prominent capital defense lawyer David Bruck, who represented Roof
during the guilt phase of the trial and now serves as his standby
counsel, said the defendant's actions proved he was incapable of
mounting a proper defense.
"This man cannot protect his own rights," Bruck argued. "He cannot do
Gergel refused to let Bruck make objections on Roof's behalf.
Roof’s trial on state murder charges, set for Jan. 17, was delayed
indefinitely on Thursday.
(Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Leslie Adler and Matthew Lewis)
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