Journal: Dylann Roof has no regrets, not sorry for Emanuel AME killings

Jennifer Pinckney takes the stand in the Dylann Roof trial Wednesday. (Source: Manisalco)
Jennifer Pinckney takes the stand in the Dylann Roof trial Wednesday. (Source: Manisalco)
Roof was found guilty in the deaths of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Ethel Lance, 70; Susie Jackson, 87; Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49; Rev. Daniel Simmons, 74; and Myra Thompson, 59
Roof was found guilty in the deaths of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Ethel Lance, 70; Susie Jackson, 87; Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49; Rev. Daniel Simmons, 74; and Myra Thompson, 59

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A journal written in jail by Dylann Roof states that the convicted killer had no regrets in the June 2015 shooting in downtown Charleston that took the lives of nine parishioners.

"I would like to make it crystal clear. I do not regret what I did. I am not sorry. I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed," Roof wrote weeks after he was arrested.

The passage was found in August of 2015 following a search which was done by detention officers after Lauren Knapp, a criminal intelligence officer with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, was notified about a letter Roof planned to send.

The letter contained writings of a historical book that urged young people to commit suicide.

When a search was done of Roof's cell officers found several drawings and documents including Roof's writings which stated he was unapologetic for his crimes, and only felt sorry for "innocent white children forced to live in this sick country."

Knapp read portions of the journal during her testimony on Thursday during Roof's sentencing phase. The government released the journal Thursday night.

Roof said in the journal that he only felt sorry for himself in that he had to give up his freedom to get something done to give whites more power.

Roof wrote that he felt he would probably eventually be pardoned if he were sentenced to life in prison and believed Adolf Hitler would eventually be canonized as a saint.

An FBI agent is expected to testify on Friday about the jailhouse manifesto.

Jurors are also expected to hear from the family members of Cynthia Hurd, Ethel Lance and Susie Jackson.

The prosecution hopes to wrap its case by Monday afternoon.

Friends, family of church shooting victims sob during testimony in Roof trial

Earlier on Thursday, family members and friends of the nine victims of the Charleston church shootings sobbed through testimony.

Jurors are hearing testimony and will decide whether Roof, whom they convicted in December on 33 federal hate crimes and weapon charges in the June 17, 2015, shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church, will receive a penalty of life without parole or be sentenced to death.

A daughter and sisters of some of the victims of    tearfully spoke on the character of the victims and what they each meant to their families, their spiritual beliefs, and things they used to do together and places they used to go.

Victim Myra Thompson's daughter talked about a dream she had before the shooting that her mother had died.

After that testimony, Roof stood up from the table where he was seated to say he would file motions about the number of family members called as witnesses, and about the amount of testimony the jury hears. In Roof's motions, he argued his fair trial, due process, has already been passed in testimony by victims' family members. But he added he feels he should not object to what's being said because he feels the jury would find it looks bad on him to do that.

Roof's attorney: 'It is not a memorial service'

Earlier, Gergel, with the jury out of the room, seemed to side with Roof's concerns, telling Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson some of the testimony can become repetitive.

"I'm concerned both about the number of witnesses and the length of testimony," the judge said. "We cannot undermine the fairness of this process."

Attorney David Bruck, who represented Roof in the guilt phase but became standby counsel when Roof convinced the court he was capable of self-representation for the penalty phase, also complained about the number of witnesses and length of testimony, calling the hearing "a runaway freight train."

"This is his sentencing," Bruck said. "It is not a memorial service."

Bruck also said he instructed Roof to file for a mistrial.

Prosecutors told the court they plan to pare down the number of witnesses they plan to call. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson said he is trying to be judicious in how many relatives he calls for the victims of the slaughter at Emanuel AME Church, but fired back about the complaints.

"He is the one who chose to kill nine people," Richardson said, referring to Roof.

Richardson said the victims' families have the right to testify.

Bruck asked the court for permission to represent Roof again, telling the court he doesn't think the convicted killer is capable of being his own attorney, in part because he isn't objecting to testimony from family members.

Bruck said he is passing notes to Roof suggesting objections, but said Roof is not objecting.

Gergel denied Bruck's request, saying he's certain Roof is competent and is free to object whenever he sees fit.

"I did everything I could to get Mr. Roof not to self-represent," Gergel said.

After a short recess, testimony resumed.

Roof has said he does not plan on calling any witnesses.

Several of the jurors could be seen crying during some of the testimony Wednesday.

Testimony continues Thursday

Four witnesses were called before lunch Thursday.

Denise Quarles said her mother Myra Thompson liked to be called "Granny," was strict on her as a child and stressed the importance of education. She credited her mom with providing her tools that would eventually lead to her career.

Weeks before the shooting, Thompson told her how proud she was of her daughter and how independent she was.

"If I've never told you before, I want you to know I'm proud of you," Quarles recalled her mother saying.

She referenced the shooting at Mother Emanuel, becoming more emotional as she said her mother died welcoming a stranger into the church where she grew up. "For that to happen, where I call home, it pisses me off," Quarles said.

Rita Whidbee met Sharonda Coleman-Singleton in college.

"Sharonda was anything any friend could ever want," she said.

Singleton served as her maid of honor, and was there for her when she had a divorce. During her split with her husband, Singleton gave her an envelope that contained a signed blank check.

"'Write it for whatever you need, and there's more where that came from,'" Singleton said.

"I believe that DePayne has always had a calling," Bethane Middleton Brown said about her sister DePayne Middleton Doctor. "She always sought to appease God by way of her faith." Doctor had a passion for helping single mothers, taking part in prison ministry and being active in her church, she said.

Her four daughters generally went to Bible study with her, but didn't go the night of the shooting.

Roof files objection to prosecutors hugging witnesses 

Roof filed a motion on Thursday saying that it was inappropriate that the prosecution was hugging witnesses during the penalty phase of the trial.

The motion specifically described an instance when Bethane Middleton was being questioned by the government.

According to the court document, the lead prosecutor continued to question Middleton until she "was crumpled in her seat and sobbing loudly."

Roof says after a break was requested, "both the prosecutor and advocate" hugged Middleton while she was still on the witness stand as the "jury filed out within feet of her."

In addition, Roof asked in the motion to adjust the schedule of the trial to permit more breaks as "everyone in the courtroom is struggling with the emotional nature" of the testimony.

"Lots of people have been crying-jurors, courtroom personnel, audience members, even the Court and counsel for the government." the motion stated."Out of consideration for all involved, especially the jurors, and for the integrity of the proceedings, I request that the Court consider adjusting the schedule of the trial to permit more breaks."

The motion also stated that the court should preview all video and audio evidence for prejudicial content. The motion cites Roof's general objection that the "victim impact evidence is excessive and prejudicial."

Wife of late Sen. Clementa Pinckney: He always made time for family

On Wednesday, Jennifer Pinckney, widow of State Sen. and the Rev. Clementa Pinckney described him as a family man who started preaching at a young age and loved to wear uniquely-patterned socks.

He mostly wore slacks when they first met, but she said she eventually got him into wearing jeans and following football. While Clementa Pinckney — who started leading his first church at 18 — eventually became a senator, "he always made time for the family and he always made time for the girls," Jennifer said.

The pastor's widow testified she was in a church secretary's office with their daughter when she heard gunshots, and said she locked the door and shoved her daughter under a desk and put her hand over her daughter's mouth, ordering her to remain quiet. The jury heard a recording of the 911 call she made, in which she whispered to dispatchers, fearing the shooter would hear her.

Roof: "I'm not going to lie to you" 

After prosecutors spoke Wednesday morning, Roof presented his own brief opening statement, telling jurors, "I'm not going to lie to you," and insisting there is nothing wrong with his mental health. Roof said he chose to represent himself for the penalty phase because he did not want his lawyers talking about the mental health issue. He also said his attorneys, now classified as standby counsel, "forced" him to undergo two competency examinations, the most recent of which took place over New Year's weekend.

Prosecutor Nathan Williams warned jurors testimony from victims' family members over the next few days would be difficult to hear and spoke briefly of the victims killed in the June 17, 2015, shooting. Williams said evidence will show Roof has no remorse and read from a note he said Roof wrote while in prison that read, "It was worth it." But he said a note of apology Roof penned to his mother in which he acknowledged there would be repercussions for his family demonstrates he is capable of remorse.

Copyright 2017 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.