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If he is found guilty of the murder charges, Dylann Roof may be sentenced to death

By Sheila Cosgrove Baylis
Updated September 03, 2015 02:35 PM
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Credit: Columbia Police Dept

South Carolina prosecutors filed court papers saying they will seek the death penalty for Dylann Roof, the man accused of fatally shooting nine people at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in June, the Associated Press reports.

Roof, 21, has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges against him – nine counts of murder, three of attempted murder and a firearms charge.

“This was the ultimate crime and justice from our state calls for the ultimate punishment,” Charleston County Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said at a press conference.

Roof allegedly confessed to the brutal killings in June, shortly after he was arrested. He also allegedly told investigators that he wanted to start a race war, CNN reported. Roof also allegedly posted a racially-charged manifesto online, and appeared in photos waving Confederate flags and burning or desecrating U.S. flags. An indictment filed against Roof said that he chose the historic centuries-old, African American church “in order to make his attack more notorious.”

The June 17 shooting spree at the historic black church is being considered a hate crime. The court papers filed today indicate that prosecutors intend to present evidence on Roof’s apparent lack of remorse for the killings.

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