A federal appeals court has refused to hear his appeal of his death sentence for the 2015 murder of nine people at a Charleston, South Carolina, church.
In a one-page order issued Friday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the en banc review.
Roof petitioned the court earlier this month after a three-judge panel unanimously voted in August to uphold his 2017 conviction on federal hate crime charges. According to the court, he killed the Black congregants with the “express intent of terrorising, not just his immediate victims at the historically significant Mother Emanuel Church, but also the entire community.”
He sought to have the full court of 15 judges rehear the case in what’s known as an en banc session. Roof’s lawyers said their client’s death sentence violated Supreme Court precedent because prosecutors emphasized the goodness of the nine victims.
The self-proclaimed White supremacist said he carried out the massacre because he believed it would catapult a race war in the United States.
South Carolina state Sen. Clementa Pickney, 41, who was also a pastor at the church; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Myra Thompson, 59; Ethel Lance, 70; Susie Jackson, 87; DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49; Sharonda Singleton, 45; and Daniel Simmons Sr., 74, died in the attack.
A woman holding a sign stands in front of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church following services on June 21, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. On June 17, 2015, nine people were shot and killed inside the church during Bible study. A suspect, Dylann Roof, 21, was arrested in connection with the shootings. Photo by Kevin Liles