Dylann Roof, 21, was also indicted on other charges including killing someone while obstructing religious freedom, a charge eligible for the death penalty.
Roof, who admitted to police that he killed the nine people attending a prayer meeting because they were Black, was already facing nine counts of murder in state court. However, the Justice Department said “the shooting was so horrific and racially motivated that the federal government must address it,” the Times writes. In fact, as pointed out by Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Wednesday, South Carolina does not have hate crime laws, backing the reasoning for federal charges.
According to the NYT:
A grand jury was expected to return a federal indictment on Wednesday afternoon. It was not immediately clear how that indictment would affect the state prosecution. The Justice Department has the option to delay its case and wait to see how the state case ends before deciding whether to proceed with a second trial. Under federal law, a hate crime does not, by itself, carry a possible death sentence.
Authorities have linked Mr. Roof to a racist Internet manifesto and said he was in contact with white supremacist groups before his attack on the Emanuel A.M.E. Church. He was photographed holding a Confederate flag and a handgun.
“I have no choice,” the manifesto reads. “I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the Internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”
In all, Roof was indicted by a grand jury on 33 federal counts. His tentative trial is set for July 11, 2016.
SOURCE: NYT | VIDEO SOURCE: NDN