Roof was previously found guilty on all 33 counts against him in regards to the racially charged murder of nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson urged jurors to adhere to the government's death penalty recommendation. He outlined the horrific events of the night and how Dylann Roof opened fire on the innocent, vulnerable church-goers as their eyes were closed in prayer. Richardson said:
“He continued to believe it was worth it. Not one ounce of remorse.”
“In my confession to the FBI I told them that I had to do it, and obviously that's not really true...I didn't have to do anything. But what I meant when I said that was, I felt like I had to do it, and I still do feel like I had to do it.”
He also reminded jurors the power they each held:
“From what I've been told, I have a right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I'm not sure what good that will do anyway. But what I will say is only one of you has to disagree with the other jurors.”
The jury reportedly deliberated for just three hours — just one hour longer than it took them to decide Roof's guilt.