Jurors to Hear More Stories of Emanuel Victims


Family and friends of Sharonda Coleman-Singleton spread her ashes in Jamaica. (Government Exhibit 780)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Prosecutors have called more than a dozen witnesses after a flurry of testimony on Thursday as jurors hear from family members of the nine people by Dylann Roof at Emanuel AME Church in 2015.

As testimony ended on Thursday, jurors had heard personal anecdotes from the family and friends of Revs. Clementa Pinckney, Daniel Simmons Sr., Depayne Middleton Doctor, Myra Thompson, and Sharonda Coleman Singleton.

The emotional and often gut-wrenching testimony led standby defense attorney David Bruck to file a motion calling for change after it was noted the jury, the gallery, and a number of court officers were all crying.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel denied the motion, telling Bruck he read in the morning paper that even defense attorneys were crying in the testimony, and said there was nothing wrong with having an emotional response to the testimony.

At times, jurors have heard 911 calls made by Pinckney’s widow Jennifer, and at others they have heard the voices of the dead in recorded sermons and songs.

Jurors also learned Roof kept a racially charged journal in the early weeks of his confinement at the Charleston County jail in which he expounded on his views of other races and set the record straight on things he’d heard about himself on a small radio he kept in his cell.

The journal showed Roof also thought he would be pardoned for his crimes eventually. He also considered adopting a child and thought Hitler would be sainted.

Roof is representing himself, and in opening remarks on Wednesday he told jurors there was nothing wrong with him mentally. He did not ask them to spare his life.

Since then, Roof has been mostly silent when the jury is in the room, only lodging a few objections to evidence being presented.

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