Victim’s dad warns Dylann Roof: ‘Your creator … he’s coming for you’

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Charleston, South Carolina (CNN)Those whom Dylann Roof hurt the most had the chance to address the convicted killer before his Wednesday sentencing, with one of the victims’ sisters calling him “among the worst kind of evil.”

Roof on Wednesday was formally sentenced to death — as recommended by the jury — for killing nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.
    He is the first federal hate-crime defendant to be sentenced to death, a Justice Department spokesman said. He has 14 days to appeal his sentence.
    Roof had indicated he wanted to speak at the sentencing hearing, but he didn’t.
    Instead he listened to a long line of people whose loved ones he stole. More than one family member took issue with the defendant failing to make eye contact with them.
    “Dylann … Dylann! I know you can hear me,” said Janet Scott, Tywanza Sanders’ aunt. “Even as (Tywanza) knelt there and asked you why you were doing this, he was showing you love. He was showing you that one last chance, but you chose not to instead.”
    The Rev. Dan Simmons’ son, Dan Simmons Jr., opened his statement by telling Roof, “I understand why you don’t want to look at us, so I will speak to the spirit that possesses you.”


    A group of defense attorneys and others who worked on Roof’s behalf issued a statement, saying the death penalty decision means the case will not be over for a “very long time.”
    Holman Gossett, a former prosecutor in South Carolina, said it’s possible Roof could ask for a new trial.
    “He didn’t have any attorneys helping him in the penalty phase so he may make that motion after reflecting on it,” Gossett told CNN affiliate WSPA-TV. “Then it would go through the process of automatic hearings with appellate courts to see if there’s any reason under the law that it should not stand legal grounds.”

    Federal executions are rare

    Since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988 after a 16-year moratorium, three federal inmates have been executed in the United States. There are 63 federal prisoners awaiting execution.
    Roof’s court appearances may be far from over.
    He is also set to be tried on state murder charges, and prosecutors have said they’ll also seek the death penalty in that case.

    ‘Hate won’t win’

    After court, the Rev. Simmons’ family said they were pleased with the guilty verdict and praised the Department of Justice.
    “I am proud of my family. I am proud of the city of Charleston, and I’m proud of America for keeping this story alive and allowing the victims… their voice to be heard, even now 19 months after their death,” said Rose Simmons, a daughter.
    Simmons’ son, Dan Simmons Jr., who addressed Roof in court said: “I wanted to speak to the inner person, not the outer shell. I did achieve getting him to look up and to pay attention to what I was saying.”
    Dan Simmons Jr. ended the press conference with a message: “Hate won’t win.”

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