Prosecutor seeks death penalty for Charleston church shooter; residents react

FILE - This Thursday, June 18, 2015, file photo, provided by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office shows Dylann Roof. A federal magistrate in Charleston, S.C., entered not guilty pleas on 33 federal charges, Friday, July 31, 2015, including for hate crimes, for Roof, a white man accused of gunning down nine parishioners at a black church in Charleston. (Charleston County Sheriff's Office via AP)

CHARLESTON, SC – Dylann Roof is accused of killing nine members of Emanuel AME Church, and if convicted, he could face a death sentence.

Tonight, News 2 spoke with officials from Mother Emanuel about 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson’s announcement to seek the death penalty.

Rev. Norvel Goff of Mother Emanuel church says Solicitor Wilson’s decision to seek the death penalty for Dylann Roof is just the beginning of a long healing process.  “It’s the beginning of a process that is going to take some time, but it’s part of the healing process not only for the nine families and the survivors, but also this community and this church that is called Mother Emanuel…The process is very important for everyone who has been impacted in South Carolina and around the world.”

On Thursday afternoon, Wilson announced the state’s intention to seek the death penalty. Wilson explained, “This was the ultimate crime and justice from our state calls for the ultimate punishment,” said Wilson.

The solicitor said she spoke with many survivors and victims’ families about the shooting and because of the heinous nature of the crime; the state will seek the death penalty

“Some family members of victims, because of their faith, do not believe in the death penalty under any circumstances…Still, others believe that the death penalty for the murders at Mother Emanuel Church is entirely appropriate,” said Wilson.

Wilson said no one has a heart for vengeance but rather a resolve to seek and find justice in this case.

Roof has been indicted twice for the killings; in state and in federal court.

A grand jury indicted him on 33 federal charges, including 12 hate crimes.

The federal cases carry a possible death sentence as well.

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