Convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof filed an appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Tuesday asking for his death sentence to be vacated. His attorneys point to the lower court’s error in allowing him to stand trial and be his own defense counsel.
They present various reasons as to why the sentence should be vacated, including is Roof’s mental illness. They say that “Roof’s mental state was the subject of two competency hearings, and five experts found him delusional—findings swiftly dismissed by the court, in its rush to move the case along—jurors never heard any of that evidence.” This alone should have been enough to prevent the death penalty from being on the table as well as the fact that he was not a future danger.
They also argue that there should not have been a federal trial. “South Carolina swiftly brought capital charges for Roof’s wholly-intrastate crime. Months later, federal prosecutors intervened, using novel theories of jurisdiction to seek their own death sentence—a move unwelcomed by the State, who viewed the federal prosecution as unnecessary and disruptive”
They are looking to the court to vacate the charges so a new fair trial can be brought in the proper forum.