- Title: Charleston church gunman tells jury he is not mentally ill
- Date: 4th January 2017
- Summary: CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, UNITED STATES (JUNE 18, 2015) (REUTERS) CHURCH STEEPLE PAN TO MEMORIAL MORE CHURCH EXTERIOR
- Embargoed: 19th January 2017 22:35
- Keywords: Dylann Roof South Carolina shooting church Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal
- Location: No-Data-Available
- City: No-Data-Available
- Country: USA
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Crime
- Reuters ID: LVA0035XO2OG7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The widow of the pastor who was among the nine people killed by white supremacist Dylann Roof at a historic black church in South Carolina told a federal jury on Wednesday (January 4) she heard the gunman say during the hate-fueled rampage that he was not crazy.
Jennifer Pinckney said she hid with her 6-year-old daughter under a desk as Roof opened fire in an adjoining room at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, where her husband, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, and parishioners had gathered for a Bible study meeting on June 17, 2015.
"I heard Mr. Roof say, 'I'm not crazy. I have to do this,'" said Pinckney, the first witness to testify for prosecutors who are seeking the death penalty for a crime that shocked the United States.
The sentencing phase of Roof's federal trial opened earlier in the day with the defendant telling jurors that he was representing himself because he did not want them to hear any mental health evidence - but insisting he is not mentally ill.
The same jury last month found Roof guilty of 33 federal counts of hate crimes resulting in death, obstruction of religion and firearms charges.
"There's nothing wrong with me psychologically," said Roof, making no mention of the crime or the racist ideology prosecutors have said spurred the massacre.
Roof also did not say during his short opening statement whether he wants to live, nor did he ask any questions of Pinckney when she took the witness stand.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled on Monday that Roof was mentally fit to stand trial and act as his own lawyer.
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