According to newly-released court records, GPS evidence shows convicted shooter Dylann Roof went to a another church shortly after killing nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015.
According to the Charleston Post and Courier, a secret motion filed by federal prosecutors prior to Roof’s trial showed that Roof drove to Branch AME Church in Dorchester County that same night. The church in Jedburg roughly 30 miles from Emanuel is also a predominately African-American congregation.
Investigators were able to detail Roof’s travels with a GPS unit found in his car at the time of his arrest. The GPS indicated that Roof powered off the unit for roughly two minutes as he approached Branch AME. Prosecutors said that was likely an indication he stopped the car by the church. The GPS data also showed that Roof had driven by Branch AME about four months before the Emanuel AME shooting.
Roof had been living in Eastover, which is located east of Columbia and 75 miles away from Branch AME. The newspaper reports that trip took place around the time Roof bought a web domain that he would use for a racist online manifesto.
The documents were released among several other documents that had been sealed during Roof’s federal trial, which ultimately led a jury to sentence him to the death penalty. Other filings revealed that Roof’s attorneys tried to block prosecutors from introducing evidence about lists of churches found in Roof’s car, as well as GPS data about his visits to Branch AME and some pictures of the church. Prosecutors ultimately did would not introduce the GPS evidence during Roof’s trial.