No, you are not dreaming. Yes, you read that headline right. The Charleston Massacre killer, Dylan Roof, pleaded not guilty to 33 federal charges yesterday including hate crime and firearms charges. As a reminder, Roof walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston and shot nine people. (Roof is also charged with state charges of nine counts of murder.)
The USA Today reports that Roof wanted to plead guilty to his crimes but his lawyer advised otherwise until it is known whether prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in this case or not. As many of us learn in adulthood and probably before then, “justice”in the system is about legalities, not righteousness.
In the report, Roof was described as appearing in a grey striped jumpsuit, and not anything to the Magistrate judge in court other than “yes” to the Magistrate judge who asked questions. The Magistrate also apparently heard from the family members of the victims. ABC news also reports that the Emanuel church’s interim pastor Norvel Goff said the following outside the court to reporters: “The process has started. This is a long journey, but we are committed to the task to make sure justice is done.”
Roof’s trial on the South Carolina state charged begins July 2016.