Dylann Roof Refuses To Look At His Victims’ Loved Ones

As friends and family of Roof's victims directly addressed him in court on Wednesday, the convicted killer refused to look them in the eye

Jan 11, 2017 at 3:10 PM ET

Dylann Roof, who was sentenced to death on Tuesday for the murders of nine people at a historically black church in South Carolina last year, spent Wednesday morning listening to friends and family members of his victims either forgive him or wish upon him an eternity in the deepest pits of hell. Roof, by all accounts, wouldn’t even make eye contact with his victims’ loved ones.

The 22-year-old is in the sentencing phase of his trial where those close to the victims are given a chance to speak directly to Roof, a proud white supremacist who hoped his June 2015 massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church would spark a race war. Despite the heinous nature of Roof’s crimes — targeting people at a Bible study class based on the color of their skin — many of the victims’ family members offered the mass shooter their sympathy, and told him how they refused to let the hate in his heart win.

“You wanted to start a race war…but instead of starting a race war, you started a love war,” said victim Cynthia Hurd’s brother Melvin Graham, who was cited by local reporters in the courthouse.

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Other family members also told Roof how his hateful plan had failed — all as he reportedly just stared down at a table, which he has done for much of the penalty phase of his trial.

“This dude is not listening to a thing we saying,” an aunt of victim Tywanza Sanders said to Roof as he continued to stare at the table. “Dylann!” she then yelled to get his attention, according to reporter Chad Mills of WIS News 10. “I know you can hear me!”

“I wish you would look at me, boy. But I know you hear me,” she went on after talking about how her nephew was an organ donor but that his organs couldn’t be donated because of the trauma they had suffered at the hands of Roof.

While many of the victims’ loved ones offered Roof forgiveness and offered to pray for him, not everyone was as pious.

“What are you?” church member Marsha Spencer asked Roof. “What kind of sub-human miscreant could commit such evil?” The niece of victim Susie Jackson told Roof that she hoped his “soul burned in hell.”

Roof, meanwhile, refused to acknowledge those giving testimony.

“To Dylann Storm Roof, you said you couldn’t look at us,…I was taught when you speak, look into the eyes. Could you look at me?” one of Jackson’s other relatives asked Roof, who declined to acknowledge her. “Okay. I’m going to accept that.”

Another family member of Roof’s victims, the sister of Depayne Middleton-Doctor, told Roof how she had wanted to hate him — that she wanted to call him “Lucifer” — but that her faith doesn’t allow that. “God doesn’t take your actions lightly,” she told him. Still, Roof refused to look at her.

“Dylann Roof, you can’t look at me, but when you are alone, you will hear my voice,” she said.