Prosecutors to play Roof confession in church slayings trial

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Dylann Roof's confession to killing nine black church members in a racially motivated attack last year will be publicly aired for the first time today when prosecutors play a recording of police questioning the young white man.

The recording may offer more insight into why Roof attacked the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church during Bible study on June 17, 2015. In an opening statement earlier this week, assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson said Roof not only confessed, but gave chilling details on his preparation and his motivation for the attack when he spoke to law enforcement.

Roof is charged with 33 federal counts, including hate crimes. His defense has largely conceded that he committed the slayings and has instead focused on trying to spare him the death penalty.

Today, they asked the judge to allow them to present more evidence about his personality and state of mind, and U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said he would take up the issue on a case-by-case basis before jurors begin hearing testimony from a witness.

If jurors find Roof guilty, they will decide whether he should be put to death or spend the rest of his life in prison. Roof has said he wants to represent himself during that penalty phase of the trial.

Prosecutors said Thursday they planned to play the entire two-hour confession Roof gave shortly after his arrest the day after the shooting.

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