Shooting suspect Dylann Roof is escorted from the Cleveland County Courthouse in Shelby, North Carolina, June 18, 2015. AP Photo
Dylann Roof, the controversial white supremacist who massacred nine black Americans in a Christian church last year was found guilty on 33 counts of murder, which was undoubtedly one of the worst racially-motivated crimes in the US in recent years.
The 22-year-old Roof shall expect sentencing to be handed down next month, for which the conviction might get him the death penalty for the shooting incident that took place inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. The victims of the Charleston church shooting were having a bible study in the church on June 17, 2015, when Roof opened fire on them using a .45 caliber Glock pistol with 70 rounds of ammunition.
The Charleston church shooter was a self-confessed white supremacist who admitted to committing the crime and has been harboring hate for black Americans by saying that he hated blacks and believes that they are criminals. The 12-member jury took two hours to deliberate the federal charges and convicted Roof on all of them.
David Bruck, the defense lawyer for Roof, conceded to the verdict on the charges, but said that the suspect was a "suicidal loner" who had no realization of the full extent of the crime committed.
The families and loved ones of those who died in the massacre minced no words in hoping that the Charleston Church shooter could get the death penalty for the unthinkable crimes he committed.
"Yes, I want him to see the death penalty," said Esther Lance in an interview with CNN after the conviction. Lance's mother Ethel, who worked as a custodian at the church, was one of the nine worshippers that Roof shot and killed.
"He needs to be held accountable for every bullet. The parishioners could not have seen the hatred in his heart. He sat and waited until they were at their most vulnerable," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams when he was addressing the jury.
The prosecution team portrayed Roof as a "cold and calculating killer" which was evidenced by several witnesses who took the stand. One of those who testified was an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who showed the court a series of writings by Roof about racism and his hatred for blacks.
A videotaped recording was also shown during the trial apparently shows Rook waving his hands and laughing after he confessed to killing the victims in cold blood. He also told the FBI that he was ready to launch a race war.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, after the conviction, issued a statement saying "it is my hope that the survivors, the families, and the people of South Carolina can find some peace in the fact that justice has been served."