Charleston church shooting suspect to face death penalty, prosecutor says

Dylann Roof, 21, is accused of killing nine black churchgoers during a Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina

FILE - This Thursday, June 18, 2015, file photo, provided by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office shows Dylann Roof. A federal magistrate in Charleston, S.C., entered not guilty pleas on 33 federal charges, Friday, July 31, 2015, including for hate crimes, for Roof, a white man accused of gunning down nine parishioners at a black church in Charleston. (Charleston County Sheriff's Office via AP)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The white man accused of killing nine black churchgoers during a Bible study will face the death penalty, according to court documents filed Thursday.

The documents said prosecutors would pursue the death penalty against Dylann Roof, 21, because more than two people were killed, and that others’ lives were put at risk.

Prosecutors also said they intended to present evidence on Roof’s mental state, adult and juvenile criminal record and other conduct, as well as his apparent lack of remorse for the killings.

Roof faces state charges including nine murder counts in the June 17 slayings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. He is expected in court again on those charges in October.

He also faces federal charges including hate crimes and obstruction of the practice of religion, some of which are also eligible for the death penalty in that system.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has said federal charges were necessary to adequately address a motive that prosecutors believe was unquestionably rooted in racial hate. South Carolina has no state hate crimes law.

Roof is white and appeared in photos waving Confederate flags and burning or desecrating U.S. flags. He purportedly wrote online of fomenting racial violence, and federal authorities have said he used a personal manuscript in which he decried integration and used racial slurs to refer to blacks.

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