Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said Thursday that she will pursue the death penalty against Dylann Roof, the man accused of killing nine worshippers at a Charleston church earlier this summer.
Wilson read a statement Thursday afternoon in which she announced the decision to news outlets. “This was the ultimate crime and justice from our state calls for the ultimate punishment,” she said.
“Forgiveness does not necessarily mean foregoing consequences.”
In the state court case that Wilson is prosecuting, the 21-year-old Roof is charged with nine counts of murder, three of attempted murder and a firearms count in the June 17 shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Roof also was indicted on 33 federal charges, including hate crimes and religious freedom violations. The Justice Department has not yet announced if they will also seek the death penalty, as well. The federal indictment does lay the groundwork for the U.S. Attorney’s Office to pursue the ultimate punishment.
In court filings, prosecutors said they would seek the penalties because more than two people were killed and because others’ lives were put at risk. The filing suggested the Solicitor’s Office would present evidence on Roof’s mental state, adult and juvenile criminal record and other conduct, as well as his apparent lack of remorse for the killings.