Dylann Roof will receive a life sentence after pleading guilty to murdering nine Black victims in South Carolina’s historic Emanuel AME Church in 2015. Doing so will prevent him and, most importantly, the victims’ families from having to endure a second trial to sentence him to the death penalty.
Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson was originally pursuing the death penalty, but agreed to accept his guilty plea and sentence him to life in prison instead, according to The Post and Courier.
“I write with great news that the State’s case is ready to wrap up. As I told you towards the end of trial and in other updates, at this point our goal is to provide an insurance policy to the federal conviction and sentence. The most effective way to do that is to secure a guilty plea for a life sentence and get the defendant into federal custody,” Wilson wrote in a letter to the families.
Dylann Roof will make his plea on April 10 and will be moved into federal custody.
“The goal is to get him into federal custody so their sentence can be imposed,” she said.
While many of the victims’ loved ones were against the death penalty for moral and religious reasons, they mostly were relieved that the trial was over and that they wouldn’t have to carry that emotional burden again.
“I totally appreciated that,” said Rev. Sharon Risher, whose mother was fatally shot by Roof. “I’m feeling glad we don’t have to endure another trial. I believe in my heart that this is the right thing to do. He won’t ever be able to step outside again. He won’t ever feel the sun on his skin again.”