(WESTERN JOURNALISM) — A 12-person jury Tuesday recommended Dylan Roof receive the death penalty for the massacre of nine Charleston, S.C., churchgoers on June 17, 2015.
If Judge Richard Gergel follows through on their recommendation when formally issuing his sentence Wednesday morning, Roof will become the first person to face the death penalty for federal hate crimes.
The jury’s decision followed Roof’s December conviction on 33 charges related to the massacre at Emanuel AME Church, which included firearm crimes, religious obstruction crimes and hate crimes.
An expressionless Roof listened to the sentence and reportedly smiled out of nervousness occasionally.
In remarks to the jury that lasted around five minutes prior to deliberation, the 22-year-old Roof represented himself in court and did not put on a defense or call witnesses.
Roof, dressed in a green sweater, denied having hatred toward black people, insisted his prejudice is rooted in “what black people do,” and disputed the government’s depiction of him as a man filled with hatred.