Disclaimer: This article may contain the personal views and opinions of the author.
Dylann Roof was the first person to be sentenced to death for a federal hate crime. On the evening of June 17, 2015, Roof entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. At first, Roof came to the church to participate in a Bible study.
Roof asked for Clementa C. Pinckney and sat down next to him. Pinckney was the church’s senior pastor and a South Carolina state senator. The Bible study was like any other. Roof participated in a debate with the others over the Scriptures. Once the other participants began a prayer, Roof stood up and began to open fire.
According to unidentified sources:
The source told WBTV that Roof spoke freely, told investigators he had been planning the attack for a period of time, had researched the Emanuel AME Church and targeted it because it was a historic African-American church.
The church was founded in 1817. It is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal church in the Southern United States. From show trials of free men getting falsely convicted and then executed to having to meet in secret because black churches were outlawed, the church holds a rich history as a witness of America’s darkest moments.
The massacre that took place at Mother Emanuel was premeditated and evil. For his crimes, Roof rightfully deserves the death penalty. The Supreme Court has rejected his death sentence appeal.
Roof had asked the court to decide how to handle disputes over mental illness-related evidence between capital defendants and their attorneys. The justices did not comment Tuesday in turning away the appeal.
Roof fired his attorneys and represented himself during the sentencing phase of his capital trial, part of his effort to block evidence potentially portraying him as mentally ill.
His attorneys have argued in his appeal that Roof was wrongly allowed to represent himself during his trial. That Roof was under the delusion that White nationalists would rescue him.
Self-representation is a tricky subject. The Sixth Amendment states:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
It is based on the matter of being able to defend yourself. By wanting to defend yourself, you must be competent enough to waive your counsel. Dylan wasn’t the only one who has requested to represent himself.
In 1993, Colin Ferguson began firing at passengers on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). Ferguson, like Roof, also killed people due to racism and wanted to represent himself. His defense also wanted to represent him as having a mental illness.
However, the 1993 Long Island Rail Road shooting is a case that is swept under the rug. Despite being a trial with several unusual developments, such as introducing “Black rage” as a viable excuse, it will always be ignored. Dylan Roof belongs on death row for the evil crimes he committed. Colin Ferguson, who is not on death row, should at the very least have his name besmirched rather than being obscure.