Roof to Admit SC Charges, Avoiding Second Death Trial

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Convicted mass killer Dylann Roof will plead guilty to state murder charges on April 10, sparing his nine victims’ loved ones a second grueling death penalty trial and ensuring he spends the rest of his life in prison, reports the Charleston Post and Courier. Roof, 22, was convicted in January on 33 federal charges, including hate crimes, and sentenced to death for killing nine black worshippers at Emanuel AME Church. State prosecutor Scarlett Wilson also was pursuing the death penalty for nine state murder charges. She let families of Roof’s victims know on Friday she is accepting a guilty plea instead.

“Our goal is to provide an insurance policy to the federal conviction and sentence. The most effective way to do that is to secure a guilty plea for a life sentence and get the defendant into federal custody,” Wilson wrote. She said the move will take the death penalty off the table in the state case and help move the white supremacist to federal prison. “The goal is to get him into federal custody so their sentence can be imposed,” she said. After his plea, Roof likely will be moved from to a federal prison in Terre Haute, In., site of the federal execution chamber. Loved ones of those killed have waited since the gut-wrenching federal trial’s close to learn Wilson’s plans. Many don’t support the death penalty on religious grounds; several said they didn’t want to go through a second trial.

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