Prosecutor: ‘Horrific Acts’ Justify Death for Dylann Roof

January 4, 2017 Updated: January 4, 2017

CHARLESTON, S.C.—Convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof deserves the death penalty because he painstakingly chose to kill nine black parishioners over the color of their skin and felt no remorse, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday.

The same jury that last month unanimously found Roof guilty in the June 2015 slayings during Bible study at Emanuel AME Church will now decide whether he should be sentenced to life in prison or death.

“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. He killed them because they were less than people.”

The 22-year-old Roof, who is white, is representing himself but has said he plans to call no witnesses or introduce any evidence. His former legal team has said Roof fears embarrassing himself or his family.

Roof is expected to give an opening statement when prosecutors finish.

Prosecutors plan to call up to 38 people related to the nine people killed and three who survived.

“This will be heartbreaking,” Williams said.