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Community Leaders, Family Members Reflect On Dylann Roof Sentence
1/18/2017 3:52:52 PM

Ed Bryant
By Barney Blakeney

Convicted mass murderer Dylann Roof last week was sentenced to death for the slaughter of nine people attending Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in 2015. We asked several people their views about Roof’s sentence.

North Charleston NAACP President Ed Bryant said justice was served by Roof being sentenced to death in federal court last week. “I’m all for him receiving the death penalty. He deserves it. But it’s a bittersweet sentence because the appeals process means Roof could live another 10 years. Since Roof waved all his rights during the trial, I don’t see why he doesn’t wave all his rights to appeal and save the taxpayers all that money,” Bryant said.

But Bryant has other thoughts about Roof’s fate as well. “I don’t think Roof will live long enough to be put to death,” he said. “If he doesn’t kill himself, somebody might kill him. Anything can happen in prison.”

Charleston NAACP President Dot Scott said she also feels justice was served with Roof’s death sentence. And like Bryant, she feels the sentence will be tempered by an exhausting appeals process. More importantly, Scott said she is disheartened by fact that a trial on charges imposed by the state will follow.

“I’d like to see this all put behind us. I wish the state’s trial wasn’t necessary. Since he’s already been sentenced to death, what else can be extracted by another trial? I hate to see the families put through all that again. I hate to see them exposed to more trauma. But in the end we can say the system worked,” Scott said.

Tyrone Sanders, whose 26-year-old son was the youngest of Roof’s victims and whose wife and granddaughter, were survivors among Roof’s intended victims, said while he is unforgiving and wishes a horrendous death for Roof. He hopes the sentence serves as warning to other avowed racists. “There’s only one race,” Sanders said, “the human race.”

Charleston engineer Frank Russell accepts Roof’s sentence as justified, but reflected, “I haven't seen or heard much talk about Dylann Roof’s radicalization. Could this be because he's a white southerner and there's no need for radicalization because it's inherent? I'm having a hard time believing that this young man could be so full of hate without being radicalized.”

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