White supremacist Dylann Roof tells jury: There's nothing wrong with me

White supremacist Dylann Roof tells jury: There's nothing wrong with me

Top CNS stories for today including Charleston church gunman Dylann Roof telling a federal jury "There's nothing wrong with me psychologically"; The Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act kicks off on Capitol Hill; a judicial appointment battle erupts in Vermont, and more.

This was the first time the 22-year-old white supremacist had addressed the 12-member jury that convicted him last month of 33 federal offenses.

Although he let his renowned defense attorneys represent him during the guilty phase of the trial, Roof opted to represent himself in the penalty phase. Roof had confessed to the murders nearly immediately after being caught by authorities, telling investigators in footage shown to jurors that "I went to that church in Charleston and I did it".

"If you are not insane, and you have some political commitments, yes you are entitled to go down as a martyr for the cause", Eric M. Freedman, a professor of constitutional rights at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, told the International Business Times.

"Other than the fact that I am better at constantly embarrassing myself than anyone who has ever existed, there is nothing wrong with me, psychologically", Roof said in a calm and steady voice.

Roof murdered nine people at the city's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the summer of 2015.

He acknowledged that his comments would seem "out of place" following the opening statement by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams, who moments earlier said Roof deserved to be executed. "He killed nine people".

Williams said Roof targeted his victims because of the color of their skin and said he preyed upon their vulnerability.

The government is expected to call more than 30 witnesses, mostly survivors and victims' family members, to testify.

Fog disrupts flights across Europe
Fred Legace, the airport's managing director, says all remaining outbound flights for December 28 have been cancelled. Belfast City Airport advised anyone due to travel on Friday to check with their airline for updates.

Roof said he does not plan to call any witnesses or submit evidence for his case.

By intentionally stressing his sanity, Roof has essentially eliminated one of the few mitigating factors that might convince the jury to sentence him to life in prison rather than death. "You need to let me go right now", Thompson said, and when he could not get an answer asked, "Is she suffering or is she gone?"

Roof's remarks lasted for about four minutes, far shorter than the opening statement given by federal prosecutors. Williams told jurors they would hear extensive testimony about the nine victims, including pastor and state Sen.

Life in prison isn't easy for Roof.

Jennifer Pinckney, widow of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was in a nearby room with a daughter when the shooting occurred.

She described the night of the shootings, saying she and her then-6-year-old daughter were in her husband's office when gunfire erupted. "We all know I'm guilty".

She recalled how days after the tragedy, his daughter Eliana still wanted to go to dance classes.

Roof has been adamant on representing himself during the sentencing phase of trial, with his defense team staying on as legal advisers.

Roof's mental competency was the subject of a closed-door hearing earlier this week after which U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel found him competent to proceed with the penalty phase of the trial.

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