COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Dylann Roof doesn’t want jurors to consider his mental health when they decide next month whether he should face the death penalty for killing nine black Charleston church worshippers, according to a handwritten motion he filed.
Roof’s decision late Friday to not call mental health experts to testify isn’t too much of a surprise. In his hate-filled, racist journal read to the jury during his trial, Roof said his doesn’t believe in psychology.
“It is a Jewish invention and does nothing but invent diseases and tell people they have problems when they don’t,” Roof wrote.
Roof, 22, is acting as his own lawyer during the penalty phase of his trial, which starts Jan. 3.
The same jury that convicted him Thursday on 33 charges including hate crime and obstruction of religion will decide if Roof is sentenced to life in prison without parole or death for the massacre on June 17, 2015, at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston.
In his handwritten note, he said: “I will not be calling mental health experts or presenting mental health evidence.”
Roof’s lawyers unsuccessfully tried to stop him from being his own lawyer, saying he was a high-school dropout and that they feared Roof fired them because he was afraid the attorneys would present evidence that would embarrass him and his family when trying to save his life.
Prosecutors are expected to present evidence showing that Roof picked his victims because of their race, killed them to incite more violence, showed no remorse and killed three particularly vulnerable people who were 70 years old or older, according to court papers.
State prosecutors have also said they will seek the death penalty against Roof in a separate trial on nine murder charges, likely to begin sometime next year.