Dylann Roof—white, age 21
Sentenced in federal court in the District of South Carolina
By: a jury
Date of Crime: 6/17/15
Prosecution’s case/defense response: White supremacist Roof massacred nine black parishioners during a Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Roof represented himself in the penalty phase thereby preventing his attorneys from presenting mitigating evidence. In his closing statement Roof told the jury, “I felt like I had to do it and I still feel like I had to do it.”
Sources: Anderson Independent Mail 1/11/17 (2017 WLNR 942919), Post & Courier (Charleston) 1/10/17 (2017 WLNR 826801), 4/13/17 (2017 WLNR 11383716)
Gary Sampson—white, age 41 (re-sentence after trial judge vacated death sentence)
Sentenced in the federal District of Massachusetts
By: a jury
Date of Crime: 2001
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Sampson murdered three people during carjackings as he attempted to elude authorities who were seeking him for bank robberies (for more details see his entry in the 2004 Federal section of this website). A new penalty phase ensued years later after the judge determined that one of the jurors had lied about her background. In the new penalty phase Sampson’s defense team attempted to establish more than a hundred mitigating factors — including a history of brain injuries, substance abuse and severe learning disabilities. They contended that the brain injuries impaired his impulse control.
Sources: Patriot-Ledger (Quincy) 1/10/17 (2017 WLNR 817023).