During the sentencing phase of his trial on Wednesday, Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof stated in his opening statement, “there is nothing wrong with me psychologically.”
Roof has chosen to represent himself in the case and act as his own attorney, despite the advice given to him by his lawyers. He states that the choice he made to represent himself came about because he does not want his lawyers to bring up his mental state. He did not reference the crime he committed or attempt to offer any sort of justification in his opening statement, rather he simply dismissed any suspected psychological problems that he may have.
The white supremacist made his opening statement to the same jury members that on December 15, 2015 convicted him with 33 federal counts in the Emanuel AME Church shooting that took place in Charleston in July of 2015. Jurors are now the deciding factor in whether Roof will spend the rest of his life behind bars, or conversely, face the death penalty.
In the opening statement of the prosecution, attorney Nathan Williams brought up the defendant’s white supremacist and racist motives for the massacre, as well as Roof’s very clear lack of remorse. The prosecution argues that a single murder under these circumstances should call for the death penalty, and being that this was a mass murder, there should be no reason not to face Roof with execution.
The judge in Roof’s case, Richard Georgel, has forced quite a few new restrictions on Roof’s ability to move about the courtroom as well. Roof is not able to approach either witnesses or the jury, and is to remain in the furthest seat from the jury and any relatives of the victims at all times.
Prosecutors are expecting to call upon up to 38 witnesses to testify against Dylann Roof, while Roof plans to call absolutely no witnesses, offer no evidence and only plans to make a closing argument.