Church shooting suspect to remain in jail on murder charges; bond set at $1M on weapon charge
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A judge set bond at $1 million on a single weapons charge against the suspect in a shooting at a downtown Charleston church, but bond was automatically denied on nine murder charges.
Dylann Roof, 21, appeared in bond court Friday afternoon and was represented by his lawyer, Ashley Pennington. Roof is charged with nine counts of murder and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.
Roof did not say much during the court hearing, only verifying that he lived at an address in Eastover, SC and that he was 21 years old. He also said he was unemployed.
Relatives representing the nine victims attended the hearing and spoke in court.
"I forgive him. Took something really precious from me," said the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance."I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you and have mercy on your soul. You've hurt me. You hurt a lot of people. May God forgive you. I forgive you."
"I forgive him, my family forgives you," said Anthony Thompson, the grandson of Myra Thompson."But we would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Repent. Confess. Give your life to the one that matters the most, Christ. So that he could change your ways no matter what happens to you and you'll be okay. Do that and you'll be better off that what you are right now."
"We welcomed you Wednesday night in our bible study with open arms," said Tywanza Sanders' mother, Felicia Sanders."Every fiber in my body hurts and I'll never be the same. Tywanza Sanders is my son, but Tywanza was my hero..Tywanza was my hero. May god have mercy on you."
"Although my grandfather and the [others] died at the hands of hate, this is proof, everyones plea for your soul, that they lived and loved and their legacies will live and love," said Daniel Simmons' granddaughter, Allana Simmons."So, hate won't win. I just want to thank the court for making sure that hate doesn't win."
"I'm a work in progress and I acknowledge that I'm very angry," said DePayne Middleton-Doctor's sister."But one thing that DePayne...taught me is that we are the family that love built! We have no room for hate, we have to forgive. I pray God on your soul and I also thank God that I won't be around when your judgment will come with him. May God bless you."
Roof did not appear to show any emotion as he listened to the victims' families speak during court.
"Charleston is a very strong community.We have big hearts,"said Judge Skip Gosnell, the magistrate judge who presided over the hearing."We have victims, nine of them. But we also have victims on the other side. We're a very loving community, and we are going to reach out to everyone. We have victims, nine of them. But we also have victims on the other side. There are victims on [Roof's] side of the family. Nobody would have ever thrown them in the worldwind of events that they have been thrown into. We must find it in our heart, at some point in time, not only to help those that are victims but also to help his family as well."
The shooting happened at approximately 9:05 p.m. at Emanuel AME Church following a bible study, police say. Eight victims were found inside the church and a ninth victim was transported to MUSC where he later died. Charleston Coroner Rae Wooten identified the nine victims Thursday.
Charleston Police released surveillance photos of the suspect during a 6 a.m. news conference Thursday. He was later identified by authorities shortly after 10 a.m. and was taken into custody just after 11 a.m. after a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina, according to Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen.
Attorneys say Roof waived extradition in a Cleveland County courtroom in North Carolina early Thursday afternoon. He was returned to Charleston late Thursday afternoon and will be held in isolation and protective custody at the jail, according to Charleston County Sheriff's Office officials.
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