Dylann Roof, the 23-year-old white supremacist convicted for slaughtering nine black churchgoers at Emanuel AME church in Columbia, S.C., believes he will soon be governor of South Carolina.
Attorneys for Roof appealed his conviction and death sentence to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday, the first step in a years-long appeals process that could keep Roof on death row for decades.
Roof hopes that an extended appeals process will ultimately result in his acquittal. The Associated Press reports that recently released transcripts from pre-trial hearings show that Roof believes white supremacists will soon seize control of the federal government, pardon him for his crimes, and appoint him governor of South Carolina. Defense attorney David Bruck charitably summarized his client’s views, saying Roof believes that a lengthy appeal will “give him enough time for the world to turn upside down.”
The appeal to the 4th Circuit was one of Bruck’s last official acts as Roof’s defense attorney. Public defenders from Maryland and California will take over his case as it proceeds to the 4th Circuit.
Roof’s trial resulted in 33 convictions: nine counts of violating the Hate Crime Act resulting in death; three counts of violating the Hate Crime Act involving an attempt to kill; nine counts of obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death; three counts of obstruction of exercise of religion involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon; nine counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence
The dramatic proceedings saw Roof take charge of his own defense, a witness speculate from the stand that he will burn in hell, and Roof’s mother have a heart attack in the courtroom as prosecutors described his gory and chilling scheme to incite a race war.
A jury convicted Roof in December 2016.