“This was the ultimate crime, and justice from our state calls for the ultimate penalty,” Scarlett Wilson said as she announced prosecutors will seek the death penalty in the case against Dylann Roof.
Roof is accused of killing nine people, including State Senator Clementa Pinckney, in the June massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Despite confessing to the horrific crime, Roof will stand trial on nine counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder, and one count of possessing a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. Shortly after the murders, the 21-year-old said he was attempting to start a race war by killing nine Black parishioners at the historic church.
Wilson said prosecutors decided to seek the death penalty, against the wishes of some of the victims’ families, because Roof killed more than one person and has shown no remorse for his actions.
“While none of us have the heart for vengeance, we all have the resolve to seek and to find justice in this case,” Wilson said during a press conference.
“We all agree that forgiveness can be an important part of the healing process, but know that forgiveness does not necessarily mean foregoing consequences, even severe consequences,” Wilson added.
Roof, who will also face federal hate crime charges stemming from the attack, is scheduled to go on trial in July 2016.