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Dylann Roof, the white supremacist convicted of murdering nine members of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015, is appealing to have his sentence overturned.

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Roof’s defense attorneys are playing the “he’s mentally ill” card, and, per New York Daily News, have asked that his sentence be suspended until a “proper competency evaluation” can be conducted. They argue that Roof should not have been sentenced to death due to his “mental illness”.

Back in 2017, Roof asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn his conviction and death sentence for the racist attack at Emanuel AME church in Charleston, S.C.

As EURweb previously reported, the filing by Roof’s attorneys was an expected move in what will likely be years of appeals in his federal case. The federal judge who presided over Roof’s trial rejected his first appeal, ruling that the conviction and death sentence should stand.

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In his initial appeal, Roof argued that his crime didn’t fit the definition of interstate commerce needed to make a federal case because he bought the gun and bullets in South Carolina and did not travel out-of-state to the church.

But U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled that Roof had used a telephone to call the church, GPS to find it and that the bullets and gun were manufactured in a different state.

NY Daily News writes, “U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel previously held two competency hearings for Roof: one before the start of his trial and one before its sentencing phase. Roof’s attorneys said their client’s delusional belief that he would be rescued from prison by other white supremacists prevented him from failing previous competency hearings.”

Roof received nine life sentences after pleading guilty to murder. He reportedly remains in custody on federal death row in Terre Haute, Indiana.

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