WASHINGTON - Dylann Roof, convicted of killing nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina church, told jurors there is nothing wrong with him psychologically and he has no regrets about what he did.
The white supremacist chose to act as his own attorney during the sentencing phase of his trial, he said Wednesday, because he wanted to stop his lawyers from introducing any potentially embarrassing evidence regarding his mental health, though Roof's lawyers have not specified what that evidence might be.
Roof has been found competent to represent himself during court proceedings twice throughout the trial.
Roof guilty on several charges
The jury unanimously found Roof guilty on several charges, including hate crimes, after he killed nine black churchgoers during a bible study in June, 2015.
“My opening statement is going to seem a little bit out of place,” Roof said. “I am not going to lie to you. ... Other than the fact that I trust people that I should not and the fact that I am probably better at constantly embarrassing myself than anyone who has ever existed, there is nothing wrong with me psychologically.”
Prosecutors have asked for the death penalty because of the premeditated nature of Roof's attack on the historically African-American Emanuel AME Church.
Relatives of victims to testify
“This defendant's horrific acts justify the death penalty,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams said. “He killed nine people. ... He killed them because of the color of their skin.”
Prosecutors have started to call on relatives of the church victims to testify about the repercussions of Roof's crimes. Roof, however, has no plans to call witnesses or present evidence in his favor.
He also, notably, chose not to ask jurors to spare him the death penalty in his opening statement. His only other chance to address the jurors will come when he offers a closing argument.