Dylann Roof Death Penalty: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Nikki Haley Death Penalty

South Carolina’s Governor. Nikki Haley has made it clear she wants the death penalty for Dylan Roof. (Getty)

South Carolina’s governor has made it clear that she wants the suspect in the Emanuel AME Church shooting to die. Speaking on the Today Show, Gov. Nikki Haley made it clear that the death penalty will be pursued in the case. This comes after Dylan Roof has been formally charged with nine counts of murder as well as a weapon charge. On the night of June 17, it’s alleged that Roof opened fire in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, killing nine people.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Gov. Haley Said ‘We Will Absolutely Want Him to Have the Death Penalty’



During an interview on The Today Show on the morning of June 19, Gov. Haley said “This is a state hurt by the fact that nine people innocently were killed. We will absolutely want him to have the death penalty.” During an interview outside of the Emanuel AME Church, Haley told the media “There’s a very evil kid out there that we need to blame. I talked to my investigators and they looked pure evil in the eye. We will seek the death penalty. You will absolutely pay the price.” Roof was arrested the day after shooting in Shelby, North Carolina.

2. To Get Death in the case, Prosecutors Must Show ‘Aggravating Circumstances

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According to the Death Penalty Information Center, in the state of South Carolina, in Roof’s case prosecutors will have to show “The defendant knowingly created a grave risk of death for one or more persons in addition to the victim of the offense ” and/or “The defendant committed or attempted to commit more than one murder at the same time.”

3. The Last Person Executed in South Carolina Was Jeffrey Brian Motts in 2011

Jeffrey Motts Execution South Carolina

(South Carolina Department of Corrections)

The state of South Carolina hasn’t executed anyone since Jeffrey Motts in May 2011. The Clark County Prosectors office says Motts, while serving life for killing his great aunt, Etta Osteen, 73, and her friend, Clyde Camby, 79, killed his cell mate, Charles “Chuck” Martin. The two had asked not to be roomed together after a beef the two had over a stolen radio and a shank that was found in a cell. Motts, didn’t appeal his conviction for Martin’s murder and asked to die. His lawyer read a statement from Motts that said “To my mom and grandma, Happy Mother’s Day. I know this is a sad one but let us remember the good times. I am finally free and at peace in heaven.” He apologized to his victims’ families, his own family and anyone he hurt along the way. “I want to warn kids of the dangers of drugs. I was the child everyone wanted their children around until I got on drugs. Drugs will destroy your life.” Motts’ last meal was pizza, fried fish, popcorn shrimp, french fries, sweet tea and cherry cheesecake. So far Motts is the only person to be executed on Gov. Haley’s watch, she assumed office in January 2011. It’s been four years since Motts’ execution, in the previous four years, South Carolina executed six inmates.

4. Roof’s Uncle Has Said He Would Personally Execute His Nephew

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During a passionate interview on Good Morning America, Roof’s uncle, Carson Cowles, said “I’ll be the one to push the button. If he’s found guilty, I’ll be the one to push the button myself. If what I am hearing is true, he needs to pay for it.” Roof appeared in court in South Carolina on the morning of June 19.

5. Gov. Nikki Haley Believes Stricter Punishments Reduce Crime



On Ballotpedia, it reads that Gov. Haley believes “stricter punishments reduce crime.” She also strongly supports gun ownership laws. According to On the Issues, Haley has not expressed a solid view on the death penalty.

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