Testimony to Detail Crime Scene at Emanuel in Second Day of Roof Trial
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Jurors will see what a federal court judge describes as a “very graphic” scene inside the basement of Emanuel AME Church through photos taken minutes and hours after nine people were gunned down during a bible study session last year.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel warned family members of the victims and survivors of the pending testimony and told them there was no shame in leaving the courtroom.
U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson said as proceedings drew to a close on Wednesday that he had issued his own warning to family members.
The photos will be shown a day after jurors heard from Felicia Sanders, one of the survivors of the attack investigators say was planned and carried out by 22-year-old Dylann Roof.
Sanders lost her son, Tywanza, and aunt Susie Jackson in the shooting.
“And we watched him take his last breath. I watched my son come in this world. And I watched him leave this world,” she told jurors.
The heartbreaking testimony led to a quick recess so that Sanders and members of the jury and court could compose themselves.
In a single-question cross-examination, Sanders was asked what else Roof said.
“He said he was going to kill himself. I was counting on that. He is evil. There is no place on earth for him except the pit of hell,” she recounted.
Roof faces 33 charges in the federal trial. Richardson asked jurors in his opening statements to convict him of all of them.
Roof faces the death penalty.
His attorney David Bruck started mounting a defense for life during his opening statements, telling jurors that most people err on the side of life and do not act like Roof.
He said the defense would not introduce much evidence, particularly in the guilt phase of the trial, “ecause there is not a great deal to dispute at this phase.”
Court resumes at 9:30 a.m.