Dylann Roof’s chilling lack of remorse for killing nine black parishioners at a Charleston church in 2015 was laid bare on Wednesday as his prison diary was shared.
The 22-year-old is representing himself at the sentencing phase of his highly publicized trial. He was convicted of 33 federal crimes in December and will now either be imprisoned for life or sent to his death.
As prosecutors demanded the latter on Wednesday, they shared exerts from notes he wrote himself in the weeks after June 17, 2015, when he opened fire on a group of parishioners at Emanuel AME Church.
‘I am not sorry, I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed,’ he wrote in one harrowing entry.
‘I would like to make it crystal clear I do not regret what I did.
‘I do feel sorry for the innocent white children forced to live in this sick country and I do feel sorry for the innocent white people that are killed daily at the hands of the lower races. I have shed a tear of self pity for myself.
‘I feel pity that I had to do what I did in the first place. I feel pity that I had to give up my life because of a situation that should never have existed,’ it continued.
Roof spoke on Wednesday for the first time publicly to demand that the jury throw out any previous suggestions he was mentally unfit.
He took aim at his legal team which he said had ‘forced’ him to take part in mental competency hearings despite being of sound mind.
‘The point is, I’m not going to lie to you. I trust people I shouldn’t but other than that, there’s nothing wrong with me psychologically.
‘In that case my self representation accomplishes nothing. So you can say what’s the point?’ he said calmly, reading from a pile of notes in his hand.
He said it was ‘absolutely true’ he intended to represent himself throughout the final stage of the trial and that he had been ‘forced’ to take part in competency hearings.
He had no questions to prosecutors’ witnesses, all of whom were friends or relatives of victims he killed.
Roof insisted he was not trying to hide anything from jurors but that he was better at ‘embarrassing’ himself than anyone else.
It was earlier suggested the 22-year-old wanted to represent himself to keep potentially embarrassing details about his personal or family life from becoming public.
The sentencing phase of the trial was due to begin on January 3 but was postponed by the competency hearings which found Roof fit to speak for himself.
Earlier, Judge Richard Gergel gave the youngster several opportunities to enlist the help of attorneys but he insisted on representing himself.
Prosecutors are aggressively pursuing the death penalty. On Wednesday, Assistant US Attorney Nathan Williams said Roof’s ‘horrific’ acts were deserving of it.
‘This defendant’s horrific acts justify the death penalty.
‘He killed nine people. … He killed them because of the color of their skin. He killed them because they were less than people,’ he said.
Williams pointed to diary entries made by the murderer afterwards, highlighting how he showed no remorse for the brutal killings.
Later, the widow of Pastor Clemence Pinckney recalled in harrowing detail how she was in her husband’s study with their youngest daughter as he led the bible study group.
When she heard Roof opening fire in the church basement, she told her daughter to hide. She’d never heard me be that mean,’ she said.
‘We sat there and you know we heard the bullets,’ said Jennifer Pinckney, going on to describe how she put her hand over her daughter’s mouth to stop Roof from hearing them.
She heard the murderer say: ‘I’m not crazy, I had to do this,’ before he tried to enter the room they were in.
The mother-of-two, whose older daughter stayed at home, was able to crawl into her bag to reach her cellphone and call 911.
The court heard her pleas for help on Wednesday and listened as she described emerging from the study after police arrived to find blood all over the floor.
Nine people were killed when Roof opened fire on the group.
Two of the three survivors testified against Roof during a week-long trial at South Carolina’s US District Court.
They described him as ‘evil’ and recalled how he sprayed them with bullets while they prayed on June 17.
Roof had earlier penned a sickening racist manifesto where he laid out his white supremacist beliefs in detail.
In it, he described psychology as a ‘Jewish invention’ and said he would never submit to its perimeters.
It was found among his belongings which also contained a confederate flag and home videos of him practicing shooting in his back yard.
The 21-year-old had driven from his home in Columbus, South Carolina, to the church which he singled out for its roots in the African-American community.
Roof never denied the killings but entered a not guilty plea because his lawyers would not accept the death penalty sentence proposed by prosecutors.
The trial was, as a result, unusual; his defense team presented no evidence and called no witnesses.
Their only hope at saving him from either the electric chair or lethal injection was to argue his mental state at the time of the atrocity.
Prosecutors relied on the families of those killed and the testimony of survivors throughout the week-long trial.
Felicia Sanders watched her son Tywanza die after trying to persuade Roof to stop his murderous rampage.
She told the court with fervently how the shooter’s only place was in the ‘pit of hell’ in dramatic testimony which caused Roof’s mother to collapse in the public gallery.
Later, the frantic 911 call made by 72-year-old Polly Sheppard describing the shootings was played.
Roof sat emotionless throughout proceedings to the fury of victims’ families.