Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof will plead guilty to state murder charges instead of going through a second trial, likely avoiding a second death-penalty verdict.
He has already been convicted on federal hate-crime charges and was still facing a state trial on charges of murder and attempted murder. Roof was charged in two cases stemming from the June 2015 attack at Emanuel AME Church, when nine black parishioners were gunned down during Bible study. He received a death penalty verdict in the federal trial.
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Exact details of the plea agreement won’t be available until an April 10 court hearing, but the Associated Press reports that Roof’s guilty plea in state court will be in exchange for a life sentence in prison and also allows Roof to be transferred to federal custody.
“The plea is negotiated which means it is ‘carved in stone,” said 9th circuit prosecutor Scarlett Wilson in an email to the families of the victims.
The plea deal also spares the families from suffering through another trial, where the gory details of Roof’s killing spree will be parsed through again. This agreement also signals an end to a nearly two year court proceeding to gain justice for the families of the nine victims.