Jurors Should Say No to Executing Dylann Roof
by Laura L. Finley
It is clear that 2016 was a challenging year, as is not-so-subtly displayed by John Oliver’s “F*ck 2016” and the subsequent meme of the same name. As I reflect on the many things I would like to see improved in 2017, I am thinking about both immediate and long-term goals. One of my dreams in the long-term is an end to the death penalty in the US. In the short term, however, my hope for January is that the jury that sentences Dylann Roof chooses life over another death.
Roof was found guilty of the June 17, 2015 murder of nine African-Americans parishioners engaged in a Bible study group at Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina. After sitting through their prayer service, Roof gunned down Reverend Clementa Pinckney and the other members with his .45 caliber Glock pistol loaded with hollow-point bullets. His murder spree was considered a hate crime based on his frequent visits to the websites of racial hate groups and publications on his own website, where he was pictured posing with symbols of white supremacy and neo-Nazism and which featured a manifesto declaring his hatred of black people. Roof also had a list of potential targets, predominantly black churches. If he is sentenced to death, Roof would join only three others who have received federal death sentences in the past half century, and would be the only person to have been so sentenced since 2003. More recently, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev received a federal death sentence for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. (more…)