Remembering the ‘Emanuel 9’ victims of Charleston church shooting

In this June 19, 2015 file photo, police tape surrounds the parking lot behind the AME Emanuel Church as FBI forensic experts work the crime scene, in Charleston, S.C. Prosecutors who wanted to show that Dylann Roof was a cruel, angry racist simply used his own words at his death penalty trial on charges he killed nine black people in June 2015 at a Charleston church. Roof's two-hour videotaped confession less than a day after the shooting and a handwritten journal found in his car when he was arrested were introduced into evidence Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)
In this June 19, 2015 file photo, police tape surrounds the parking lot behind the AME Emanuel Church as FBI forensic experts work the crime scene, in Charleston, S.C. Prosecutors who wanted to show that Dylann Roof was a cruel, angry racist simply used his own words at his death penalty trial on charges he killed nine black people in June 2015 at a Charleston church. Roof's two-hour videotaped confession less than a day after the shooting and a handwritten journal found in his car when he was arrested were introduced into evidence Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (MEDIA GENERAL) — After months of painful deliberation in state and federal courts, a jury has unanimously recommended the death penalty for Dylann Roof, 22, who was convicted of killing nine members of the historically black Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., on June 17, 2015.

Roof, who is white, was convicted last month of all 33 federal charges against him. During the penalty phase of the trial, he represented himself and told jurors he didn’t have a mental illness, but he didn’t offer any remorse or ask that his life.

In a lengthy confession, Roof told FBI agents he wanted to bring back segregation or perhaps start a race war with the slayings.

While the final sentencing will be up to the discretion of the judge, Roof’s fate is essentially sealed.

But even his death won’t bring back the nine lives he stole that fateful day when he interrupted their Bible study. They were mothers, father, sisters and brothers. They were important members of their Charleston community and their church.

Here’s a little bit about them:

 

After the massacre, each victim was remembered in their own special way.

Rev. Sharonda Singleton, who was a speech therapist and track coach at a local high school, was commemorated with a school-wide vigil in the gymnasium.

The day after Cynthia Hurd’s death was announced, every branch of the Charleson County Public Library system closed to mourn her loss and celebrate her 31 years of tireless service.

One of the most memorable homages came for the lead pastor of Emanuel AME and South Carolina legislator Rev. Clementa Pinckney when Pres. Barack Obama traveled to Charleston to deliver the eulogy at his funeral, leading attendees, at first a capella, in part of “Amazing Grace.”

Here’s a video of Pres. Obama’s entire speech:

As the trial comes to a close, these important members of the Charleston community whose lives were taken too soon will not surely be forgotten.

 

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