Dylann Roof was sentenced to death on Tuesday for opening fire and killing nine black parishioners who invited him to study the Bible with them at a South Carolina church.
The jury, which was the same one that found Roof guilty of federal hate crimes for the murders at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015, came to a decision in less than three hours.
Roof now becomes the 63rd person on federal death row, and the first to be put there since Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted in 2015.
But it could be a long time before Roof is actually put to death. The federal government has put executions on hold out of concerns about lethal-injection drugs, and his potential appeals could take years.
Roof, 22, acted as his own attorney during the penalty phase. He did not present any witnesses or evidence, and attempted to squash questions about his mental health. He then asked for a lawyer to help file a motion for a new trial, which the judge said he’d consider before the sentencing, but added that the request didn’t seem justified.
During the first phase of the trial, Roof’s defense lawyer David Bruck raised no objections when prosecutors played Roof’s videotaped confession to the FBI, which was made following his arrest. In it, Roof admitted he was guilty and that the motive was to spark a race war.
Main photo: Dylann Roof [NBC News (screenshot)]