The mother of one of the nine victims killed last year in the Charleston church shooting told Dylann Roof that she forgave him during the emotional sentencing hearing.
“That’s the easiest thing I had to do. But you don’t want to help somebody who don’t want to help themselves,” Felicia Sanders said, according to WCIV. “May God have mercy on your soul.”
Sanders survived when Roof went into a shooting rampage at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston during bible study. Her son, Tywanza Sanders, was killed.
On Tuesday, a jury sentenced Roof to death after three hours of deliberations. During his formal sentencing hearing on Wednesday, family and friends of the victims addressed Roof directly in court, but Roof did not look at them and declined to speak after the statements, ABC News reported.
He was then formally sentenced to death.
Sanders told Roof that she “can’t hear balloons pop” or “see the fireworks” because of him. She also said that she can’t close her eyes to pray because she needs to keep them open to see those around her.
Roof, an avowed white supremacist, shot and killed the nine victims after he sat with the group during bible study for more than 40 minutes. Since then, he has shown “not one ounce of remorse,” prosecutors argued in court.
On Tuesday, Roof suggested to the jurors that he’d like to be spared the death penalty, but the jury was unanimous in its decision to sentence him to death.