Judge denies Charleston Church shooter’s request for new trial
By Christen Smith
The white Charleston church shooter who killed black nine parishioners two years ago hoping to ignite a race war will not get a new trial, a federal judge ruled last week.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Mark Gergel issued the decision in a May 10 opinion in which he rejects Dylann Roof’s argument his convictions lack legal muster as “crimes of violence” or violations of the “interstate commerce nexus.”
In the 31-page ruling, Gergel called Roof’s arguments unconvincing and, at times, categorically false. “Defendant at times has argued as if causation of death were not an element of the offenses for which he was convicted,” he said. “That is simply not true.”
Jurors handed Roof the death penalty in January after convicting him on 33 offenses, including murder and hate crimes, stemming from the June 17, 2015 attack at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Roof gunned down nine black parishioners during a bible study that evening and later told investigators he wanted to ignite a race war.
Roof never expressed remorse for the killings and rejected his legal team’s attempts to paint him as mentally disturbed and too incompetent to stand trial.
“In my (FBI confession) tape I told them I had