On June 17, 2015, white supremacist Dylann Roof gunned down a congregation at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, leaving nine dead. Now federal prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty against him, and the families of the victims accept this measure. Some, in fact, welcome it.
According to AP, some family members are arguing that peace of mind will only come with Roof’s death. Arthur Hurd, whose wife Cynthia was killed in the massacre, agrees.
“‘What would give me full closure would be if I were the one who pushed the plunger on the lethal injection, or if I were the one to pull the switch on the electric chair, or if I were the one to open the valve on the gas chamber,’ he told the Associated Press. When ‘Roof’s body is cold, sleeping in the ground — that’s closure.’”
Among the various charges against him, Roof will be tried for hate crimes and faces the death penalty at the state level as well as the federal level. The date for the federal trial has not been scheduled, though Roof will be tried in South Carolina’s state court next year. The state executed its last prisoner in 2011. In the last five years it has become increasingly difficult to obtain the drugs necessary for lethal injection.
Roof, who attended the majority of the congregation’s Bible study before opening fire, will allegedly plead guilty if it means being spared from the death penalty.
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