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April 30, 2017

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Remorseless Dylann Roof given death sentence

The 12 people he targeted opened the door for a stranger with a smile, he said. Three people survived the attack.

"They welcomed a 13th person that night ... with a kind word, a Bible, a handout and a chair," Richardson said during his closing argument. "He had come with a hateful heart and a Glock .45."

The gunman sat with the Bible study group for about 45 minutes. During the final prayer — when everyone's eyes were closed — he started firing. He stood over some of the fallen victims, shooting them again as they lay on the floor, Richardson said.

The prosecutor reminded jurors about each one of the victims and the bloody scene that Roof left in the church's lower level.

Nearly two dozen friends and relatives of the victims testified during the sentencing phase of the trial, sharing cherished memories and talked about a future without a mother, father, sister or brother, but none of them said whether Roof should face the death penalty.

The jury convicted Roof last month of all 33 federal charges he faced, including hate crimes. He never explained his actions to jurors, saying only that "anyone who hates anything in their mind has a good reason for it."

Roof insisted that he was not mentally ill and did not call any witnesses or present any evidence.

His attorneys said he did not want to present any evidence that might embarrass him or his family.

After he was sentenced, Roof asked a judge to appoint him new attorneys, but the judge said he was not inclined to do so because they had performed "admirably."

A judge will formally sentence him during a hearing Wednesday. Roof also faces a death penalty trial in state court.

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