Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Charleston Church Killer Vows Not To Use ‘Jewish’ Psychology in Defense

Convicted murderer Dylann Roof will not ask jurors to take his mental health into consideration next month during the death penalty phase of his trial for killing nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina.

In a handwritten note filed in a South Carolina federal court on Friday, Roof, an avowed white supremacist, wrote, “I will not be calling mental health experts or presenting mental health evidence.”

Roof was found guilty on Thursday of 33 charges of federal hate crimes after a six-day trial featuring harrowing testimony about the night of June 17, 2015, when he attended Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church before opening fire on the parishioners.

He spent months scouting potential sites for the attack, which he confessed to carrying out, and wrote a journal and online manifesto filled with hatred toward Jewish and black people.

Roof’s decision not to call mental health experts or present mental health evidence came after he called the field of psychology a “Jewish invention” in his journal, part of which was read aloud at his trial earlier this month.

“I am morally opposed to psychology. It is a Jewish invention that does nothing but invent diseases and tell people they have problems when they don’t,” Roof wrote.

The jury is scheduled to begin hearing evidence on Jan. 3 in the second phase of the trial, which will determine whether Roof faces execution.

Roof is acting as his own lawyer in that proceeding.

He still faces a trial next year on state charges in connection with the church killings. South Carolina prosecutors have said they intend to seek the death penalty as well.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at help@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.