Charleston church killer Dylann Roof appeal for new trial rejected, said death better than autism label


Photo of Dylann Roof courtesy of Charleston County Sheriff

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – The same federal judge who presided over the trial of a man who killed nine worshippers in a racist attack at a Charleston church has rejected Dylann Roof’s first appeal at a new trial.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled Wednesday that Roof’s conviction and death sentence for the June 2015 massacre at Emanuel AME church should stand.

Roof argued that his crime didn’t fit the definition of interstate commerce needed to make a federal case because he bought the gun and bullets in South Carolina and did not travel out-of-state to the church.

But Gergel ruled Roof used a telephone to call the church, GPS to find it and the bullets and gun were manufactured in a different state.

Dylann Roof told a judge he would rather face the death penalty for racist church killings than have his lawyers say he had autism in open court.

In part of several hundred pages of court documents released Wednesday, Roof told U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel that being labeled with autism would discredit why he did the crime.

In other documents, Roof’s lawyer told Gergel that Roof wanted to be tried in federal court because there were no TV cameras.

Attorney David Bruck says Roof thought his forehead was horribly large and didn’t want to be seen in public. He says that’s also why Roof had a bowl haircut

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