Dylann Roof, the individual that shot and killed nine Black churchgoers at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, will continue to await his execution. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his conviction and death sentence on August 25, 2021.
Roof was sentenced to death in 2017, making him the first individual to be handed the death penalty for a federal hate crime. His appellate lawyers argued Roof should have been deemed incompetent to stand trial, where he represented himself for sentencing and actively sought to exclude evidence about his mental health based on a “delusional belief” that “he would be rescued from prison by white-nationalists—but only, bizarrely, if he kept his mental-impairments out of the public record.” The 4th Circuit rejected the argument that his convictions and sentence should be vacated, or that the case should be remanded to the trial court for further competency assessments.
Currently, there is a moratorium on all federal executions while the Justice Department revisits its existing policies and procedures for implementing the death penalty. California has a similar moratorium on capital punishment and has not executed anyone since 2006.
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