Dylann Roof after the death penalty verdict, the process to execution

VIDEO: Dylann Roof after the death penalty verdict, the process to execution

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It could take years before Dylann Roof is executed after a jury decided on the death penalty verdict on Tuesday.

As of that night Roof is behind bars at the Charleston County Detention Center. On Wednesday morning he will have his official sentencing hearing. After that, he could be moved to another location.

Professor at the Charleston School of Law, Miller Shealy provides some insight on Roof's process to execution.

"His actual execution is quite a ways down the road," Shealy said.

Shealy says it could take about six to eight years before Roof's execution. He says since 1988 there have been three federal executions.

"He will probably go to Terre Haute Indiana to a facility there, that's where most federal death penalty inmates are, over 50 there, awaiting their punishment." Shealy said.

It's a high security U.S. federal prison where Roof will likely be in solitary confinement while on death row.

"It'd be like living in a closet maybe with a small window, he might have a chance to step out in a small fence and walled in area that's very small indeed," Shealy said.

Even after the sentencing, executions take years because of the appeals process through the court system.

"But it could easily take about three years for the first appellate system to work through it," Shealy said.

His case would go to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. It could take months or even years before they're able to look at the case. There is no limit to the time they can take. From there it could also go to the Supreme Court where they would grant cert or approval.

Shealy says after that Roof could return to the district court in Charleston to file a habeas corpus petition.  This means Roof could go before court again to determine if his imprisonment is lawful.

"If Judge Gergel rules against him that will be appealed again to the fourth circuit, and if that's denied that will be appealed again to the U.S. Supreme Court," Shealy said.

Essentially there could be another round of appeals.

"What there is an option to do on the federal statute is to actually have the execution carried out in a different state where the death penalty is legal," Shealy said.

Though Roof could serves his time on death row in Indiana, Roof's execution could take place at Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, South Carolina. If his execution is carried out in South Carolina, he would have the choice between lethal injection and electrocution.

Last year, the the main drug used for lethal injections in South Carolina ran out. The drug is difficult to get from suppliers.

More details could come out tomorrow about where Roof will spend his time on death row after his official sentencing hearing.

Legal experts also say there is the possibility that Roof could choose not to go through the appeals process. That would mean his execution could come sooner.

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