Dylan Roof’s mother suffered a heart attack after prosecutors described how her son planned a cold and calculated killing of nine black church members in a racially motivated attack, Roof’s attorney said in court documents Thursday.
Roof’s mother collapsed and said “I’m sorry” several times on Wednesday as family members and court security came to help her during the opening of her son’s federal death penalty trial.
Roof’s attorney mentioned the heart attack in court documents asking for a mistrial, because a survivor’s testimony was so emotional that “spectators and even court personnel – including members of the prosecution and defense – were crying with her.”
Felicia Sanders the lone survivor of this horrific attack told jurors about the horror of seeing her son and her aunt shot to death and sheltering with her granddaughter beneath a table. At one point, she looked across the courtroom toward Roof and called him “evil, evil, evil.”
“There’s no place on Earth for him other than the pit of hell.” Sanders concluded.
Computer images of the crime scene were shown to the jury. The pictures showed the victims lying in pools of blood on the beige tile floor of the fellowship hall at Emanuel AME Church. Most were clustered around circular tables where they had been holding a Bible study.
The defense is trying to save Roof from getting a sentence of “death” and has said Roof is willing to plead guilty if the death penalty is taken off the table. They have made a similar offer in state court where Roof is charged with nine counts of murder and faces another death penalty trial next year.