Convicted killer Dylann Roof’s chilling and puzzling mental state has been revealed in previously unreleased documents and videos.
US District Judge Richard Gergel released 19 documents and three videos from Roof’s competency hearings that showcase Roof’s mental state before and after he murdered nine people at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2015. These competency hearings were held in November during the jury selection process of Roof’s criminal trial. He was ruled competent to stand trial and became the first person sentenced to death for a federal hate crime.
In a transcript from Roof’s conversation with a psychologist, Roof told a member of the defense team that his death penalty wouldn’t be carried out because he would be rescued by white nationalists after they took over the government. This report also exposed Roof’s diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder that was “based on the presence of social-communication challenges and atypical behaviors.” The report says Roof was suffering or suffered from psychosis, disordered thinking and obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
But Roof was offended with any notion that he was autistic. He told the expert that he was a sociopath and not autistic, saying autism is for “nerds and losers.”
Roof appeared to antagonize his parents in many of the videos and documents. He told his father, a Trump supporter, that he wished Bernie Sanders won the election and later told his parents that his brain was deteriorating from syphilis. Roof also told his sister that he would let her view his execution.
The new documents also dig into Roof’s childhood. His mother took him to the Lexington County Community Mental Health Center because he was having behavioral problems. At 13, he was defying his parents, experimenting with drugs, skipping school and failing all of his classes. After threatening suicide, Roof was placed on an antidepressant.
During his federal trial, Roof told jurors before sentencing, “Anything you heard from my lawyers in the last phase, I ask you to forget it.”