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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Dylann Roof: "Nothing wrong with me psychologically"

Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who, in 2015, shot and killed 9 people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC and is now in the penalty phase of his trial now that he's been found guilty.

In his opening statement on Wednesday, Roof  explained why he's acted as his own attorney, saying he wanted to keep lawyers from introducing mitigating evidence about his mental health and urged jurors to ignore anything the defense team may have said about this topic.

"There is nothing wrong with me psychologically," Roof said, but does not have the credentials to self-diagnose. In fact, even psychologists who may themselves be suffering from a psychological disorder, often don't have the ability to self-diagnose because they're too subjective.

Roof addressed the same jurors who convicted him last month and now they must decide whether he should spend the rest of his life in prison, or face execution.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams, in his opening statement for the prosecution, argued for the death penalty, reminding jurors of the racist motive for the murders and Roof's apparent lack of remorse. He argued that any of the murders alone would warrant the death penalty.

"Taken together, they justify the most significant penalty available to you," he said.

Roof plans to call no witnesses but the prosecution has started calling on victim's relatives to speak on the impact their losses have had on them. Roof told the court he would offer a closing argument.

While Roof's decision to represent himself goes against the advice of his own lawyers, not everyone believes it's a bad decision. Philip Holloway, a criminal defense lawyer not involved in this case, said that this may be a rare instance where self-representation might be beneficial to Roof.

"Dylann Roof has little, if anything, to argue in his favor," Holloway told FoxNews.com. "About the only thing he can do, and it's sort of a Hail Mary, is to stand in front of the jury himself and make his opening statement and make the closing argument because they get to hear from him personally. And if he has any hope of swaying the jurors, it's doing it that way without being subject to cross-examination."

Judge Gergel has imposed movement restrictions on Roof within the courtroom. He may not approach witnesses or the jury while speaking and while seated at the defendant's table must remain in a chair furthest from the jury and relatives of the relatives of the victims.

Dylann Roof is a stupid racist who, if anyone deserves the death penalty, it's him. If he had an ounce of remorse, I might see it differently, but he is obviously glad he killed those good people.