Clutching the blood-stained Bible she had with her when Dylann Roof executed nine family and friends around her, Felicia Sanders told the self-avowed white supremacist in court yesterday that she still forgives him for his actions. Addressing Roof the day after a jury sentenced him to death, Sanders said the mass shooting that killed nine black worshippers at Emanuel AME Church in 2015 has left her unable to hear a balloon pop or an acorn fall without being startled. reports the Charleston Post and Courier.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel formally imposed the death sentence. “His hate, his viciousness his moral depravity will not go unanswered,” Gergel said. “This proceeding will not give the families what they truly want, which is to bring their family members back. But it will give a measure of justice.” The 12-member panel — three black jurors, nine white — deliberated for a little less than three hours before unanimously deciding that Roof should die rather than spend his life in prison. The federal government has sought execution in trials involving hate crimes seven times before. Five resulted in guilty pleas; two received life sentences, according to the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel Project’s database.