Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said this week that Dylann Roof, the shooter, deliberately massacred the nine people. According to ABC News, Roof shot each victim multiple times during the June 17 killings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
“This was the ultimate crime, and justice from our state calls for the ultimate punishment,” Wilson said in a statement.
Roof faces nine murder counts and state charges.
Wilson said some of the victims’ families didn’t want the death penalty. Some families spoke at Roof’s first court appearance, saying they forgave Roof.
“In the big picture, if you see why these people are involved, it’s because they were in a church on a Wednesday evening at Bible study,” said Andy Savage, an attorney who represents the families. “They’re not Sunday Christians. They’re 24-7 Christians. They believe in the sanctity of life. They believe in forgiveness. … So for them, to not be proponents of the death penalty is no surprise.”
Said Wilson: “We all agree forgiveness can be an important part of the healing process. But know that forgiveness does not necessarily mean forgoing consequences,” Wilson said.
Wilson said she would present evidence on Roof’s mental state, his juvenile criminal record and his lack of remorse.
Roof’s attorneys have not commented on Wilson’s statements.
Roof will also face federal charges of violating hate crime laws. Federal prosecutors haven’t said if they will also seek the death penalty.