Supreme Court rejects Charleston church shooter’s appeal

The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied an appeal by Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof, leaving in place his death sentence for the 2015 shooting deaths of nine black worshippers.

The court’s denial came in a brief unsigned order without explanation, as is customary.

Roof had urged judges to reconsider his case to resolve several technical legal issues that have produced differing responses in federal appeals courts across the country, and which Roof said affected his case.

Among those questions was whether a defendant or their attorney should ultimately decide to show a jury mitigating evidence of a defendant’s alleged mental illness, which can lead to a lighter sentence.

Roof fired his attorney during his sentencing and represented himself after the court told him that he could not prevent his lawyers from presenting evidence describing him as mentally ill, despite his objection. As a result, according to his memoir, Roof presented “no intelligible evidence or argument for his own life.”

Roof was sentenced to death for the racist murder of nine black worshipers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which he hoped would spark a race war.

The Supreme Court’s rejection of his appeal comes Tuesday after a three-judge panel presides over the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit unanimously affirmed Roof’s execution last year.

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