In-depth look into newly released unsealed Roof trial documents

Newly-unsealed court documents have been released in regards to Dylann Roof’s federal trial.

The 11-page affidavit shows not only the process of the trial but photos of one of the messages between Roof and his attorney David Bruck.

“This affidavit includes our collective observations of Mr. Roof’s salient behaviors and symptoms since the conclusion of the competency hearing on November 22, 2016,” the document states.

The documents provide more insight into Roof’s sanity. The attorneys stated that the defendant, Roof, discussed his beliefs that his body was “underdeveloped” multiple times during a meeting. Roof believed his arms and legs were different sizes and he insisted that his beliefs were not delusions but fact.  He said this is because the testosterone “affected” one side of his body, causing it to develop more than the other side.

They also state he had told the counsel that something was wrong with his forehead. When the counsel began to show photos of his forehead, taken after he had been beaten by another inmate last fall, he begged them to discard the photos and he refused to look at them.

Roof also believed Judge Gergel liked him because he “smiled at him”, according to the documents. He believed the court’s affection for him would shift the “Universal Consciousness” in his favor.

As shown below, the documents show Roof’s thoughts about his fate.


Roof fate


Roof’s attorneys say he was easily overwhelmed in the affidavit. They say he would reject suggestions and was unwilling to say the word “objection” due to fear of the judge being mad at him and fear of embarrassment.

Documents state Roof also wanted to select potential jurors. One of his demands was that he did not want a young and attractive woman on his jury because it would make him anxious. When neither party agreed to this request, Roof became outraged and in front of the crowd in the courtroom expressed how upset he was. Roof said he would be bothered “every single day” she was in the jury box looking at him, documents state.

At one point during the trial, Roof began to discuss his plans for once he got out of jail. They say he plans to have a screenplay produced and went into detail about the musical soundtrack and instruments he hopes to feature.

During the guilt phase of the trial, attorneys say Roof fixated on a spot on a table rather than engaging in what was being said.

When he did occasionally respond to comments from his attorneys he would respond back saying how he was upset with them, and would smile as he said it. He did show concern in regards to what personal photographs were being seen by the courtroom.

Section 14 of the documents reflect on the incident where Roof threatened his attorney. One of his attorneys, Emily Paavola requested a break to discuss with Roof that she intended to introduce the photographs from inside his car. During the trial Roof wrote a note to counsel staying, “You are a liar you lied about not presenting exhibits. If you do it a [sic] swear to god you will regret it.”

The documents show a photo of the actual notes exchanged between Roof and his counsel. They say that Roof said if the counsel did not agree to his demands he would have an “outburst” in the courtroom.

Roof notes

Roof’s attorneys state in the documents that, “The defendant’s assessment of the government’s case against him was consistently inaccurate and based on his fixation on minor details and his inability to understand the perceptions of others.” They go on to say that Roof thought the SLED agent who read his personal journal had a “nice voice” and that reading his journal was “great” for him.

They also say that during breaks when they would go over what was discussed with Roof he would fixate on minor details rather than the impact of the evidence had on his trial.

Also, when asked to reflect on the prosecution’s opening statement and facts about each of the victims they say he would just say words to the effect of “I don’t know what you are talking about, but did you hear how he referred to the total number of pictures that I took?”

Coming to the end of the trial the attorneys say Roof was mainly interested in the way his sweater smelled and said it was “washed with too much detergent.”

The affidavit says he stated, “you are trying to kill me” to attorney Kimberly Stevens. To which she explained that she was not trying to kill the defendant, but she was sorry his sweater had been washed with too much detergent.

After the closing arguments concluded the documents state that Roof was angry with attorney David Bruck for “giving a bad argument”. The affidavit states, “The defendant stated that the argument could have been good if Mr. Bruck had told the jury what statistics they would find if they actually Googled “black on white crime.” The defendant stated his belief that if all people were simply exposed to one hour of internet research on black on white crime, they would understand why he had to commit these crimes. He asserted that “blacks want us all dead.”

According to Bruck, Roof informed him that he hated him and that if he gets out of jail he plans to come to his home and kill him.


Roof threat

Roof was sentenced earlier this year to death for shooting and killing nine people at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Downtown Charleston in June 2015.

On Monday, Roof pleaded guilty to 13 state charges against him as part of a plea deal to avoid a death sentence in that trial.


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