Tags: dylann roof | federal | death penalty | loretta lynch

Dylann Roof Faces Dueling Death Penalty Cases at State, Federal Levels

Image: Dylann Roof Faces Dueling Death Penalty Cases at State, Federal Levels
Police lead suspected shooter Dylann Roof, 21, into the courthouse in Shelby, North Carolina, June 18, 2015. Roof, a 21-year-old with a criminal record, is accused of killing nine people at a Bible-study meeting in a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, in an attack U.S. officials are investigating as a hate crime. (Reuters/Jason Miczek)

By    |   Thursday, 26 May 2016 09:43 AM

Dylann Roof, the man charged with fatally shooting nine people at a predominantly African-American church in South Carolina, could be given the federal death penalty — a very rare sentence reserved for only the most grievous crimes.

The Post and Courier reported that Roof is now facing dueling death penalty cases since state prosecutors had already planned to pursue their own death penalty charges against him.

"It's remarkable that they have not worked that out in [Roof's] case," said Chris Adams an attorney who has worked on death penalty cases. "This is the first case where you're going to have competing capital prosecutions."

The Department of Justice announced on Tuesday that it will seek the death penalty at the federal level. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, no one has been executed for the federal death penalty in the past 13 years and only three have been executed in the last half century, noted Reuters.

"Following the department's rigorous review process to thoroughly consider all relevant factual and legal issues, I have determined that the Justice Department will seek the death penalty," U.S. attorney general Loretta Lynch said in a statement. "The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision."

If convicted on federal charges, Roof could join the likes of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was sentenced to death in federal court last year. Tsarnaev was found guilty on 30 counts connected with the 2013 terrorist attack.

The Justice Department currently has a moratorium on executions while it reviews the federal death penalty statute, and federal officials have said that the Bureau of Prisons does not possess doses of drugs needed for lethal injections due to the ongoing review, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Last July, Roof pleaded not guilty to 33 federal charges in connection with the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Roof's trial date for his state-level murder charges has been set for Jan. 17, 2017, noted CNN.

Family members of those killed in the Charleston shooting learned of Lynch's decision during a conference call Tuesday with assistant U.S. attorney Jay Richardson.

"The families will support this decision," Steve Schmutz, a Charleston attorney representing the family of three of the victims, told the newspaper. "Really, I think the families have mixed emotions about the death penalty. But if it's ever going to be given, this case certainly calls for it."

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Dylann Roof, the man charged with fatally shooting nine people at a predominantly African-American church in South Carolina, could be given the federal death penalty — a very rare sentence reserved for only the most grievous crimes.
dylann roof, federal, death penalty, loretta lynch
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Thursday, 26 May 2016 09:43 AM
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