Tuesday 25 April 2017

South Carolina prosecutor to announce death penalty decision in church massacre

NIGHTMARE: Dylann Roof appears via video before a judge in Charleston, South Carolina
NIGHTMARE: Dylann Roof appears via video before a judge in Charleston, South Carolina

Harriet McLeod

The South Carolina prosecutor considering whether to pursue the death penalty for Dylann Roof (21) - who is charged with killing nine black churchgoers - is to hold a news conference on the case this evening.

Solicitor Scarlett Wilson’s office says she will address media at 2:45 pm (19:45 GMT) Thursday at her office regarding the state case against the 21-year-old.

Ms Wilson has yet to say publicly if she will pursue the death penalty against Roof, who faces state charges including nine murder counts in the June 17 slayings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

He also faces federal charges including hate crimes, and prosecutors in that case also have not said if they will pursue the death penalty.

Roof, who is white, sat down with the group before he opened fire. It is believed he was hoping to spark a race war in the United States by murdering the black church group.

Among the dead was the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, the church pastor who was also a state senator.

President Barack Obama eulogised Mr Pinckney in Charleston at a funeral attended by more than 5,000 people.

The Post and Courier newspaper reported that the state plans to pursue the death penalty, citing unnamed sources familiar with the case.

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