Video played on Friday at the murder trial of Dylann Roof showed him calmly admitting to having carried out the June 2015 massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC.
“I went to that church in Charleston and I did it,” footage reportedly showed Roof saying during an interview by investigators. He also apparently laughed after making this statement.
“I didn’t say anything to them before I pulled [a .45 glock pistol] out, not even one word,” Roof said to FBI Special Agent Michael Stansbury at one point in the taped interview. “I mean, they reacted after I shot them,” he added.
Later, jurors watched as Roof, who purchased the gun used in the church shooting when he turned 21, said bluntly “I support Hitler.”
The airing of Roof’s remorseless admission came at the end of an emotional week which saw a shooting survivor and first responder each take the stand to testify against the 22-year-old accused murderer.
“He said he was going to kill himself. And I was counting on that,” survivor Felicia Sanders told the court, when asked by defense attorney David Bruck about Roof’s stated plans following the massacre.
“He is evil,” Sanders exclaimed. “There is no place on Earth for him except the pit of hell.”
Roof has been charged with nine counts of murder, as well as a host of fire-arms, hate crimes, and civil rights violations for carrying out the shooting. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. Roof will also face a separate state trial, which also carries the potential for a death sentence.
Earlier this week, Roof’s mother reportedly suffered a heart attack in the courtroom after listening to prosecutors detail the heinous crimes her son stands accused of. According to NBC News, Amelia Cowles dropped to the ground on Wednesday, saying “I’m sorry” repeatedly. According to Roof’s uncle, Cowles had several years ago confessed concern over her son’s growing introversion.
Defense attorneys petitioned judge Richard Gergel to declare a mistrial after Cowles’ attack, and after Sanders’ emotional testimony, which, they claimed, contained inappropriate prescriptions for potential sentences. The request was denied.
Roof’s attorneys acknowledged the apparent superfluousness of the courtroom trial, given their client’s taped confession. “You’re probably wondering why there has to be a trial,” Bruck reportedly told the jury. Instead, the defense seemed to focus on the sentencing phase of the trail, having previously offered a “guilty” plea in exchange for a life-sentence.
Roof reportedly sat unmoving, eyes cast down, during Sanders’ testimony. When asked if she recalled his actions before the shooting started, Sanders told the court that Roof had been acting “just as he’s doing right now.”