Attorneys for the white supremacist, Dylann Roof, who murdered nine people inside a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, are seeking a new federal trial in an attempt to spare him the death penalty.
Dylann Roof was convicted in federal court of 33 counts including hate crimes, then sentenced to death in January for the 2015 massacre at Emanuel AME Church. A trial in state court on murder charges has yet to take place and Roof could again face the death penalty there if he is convicted.
In a motion filed Friday, Roof’s attorneys argued that the trial did not prove certain federal standards related to his death sentence. His attorneys are not challenging the 12 sentences of life in prison without possibility of release that he received.
If the court vacated the death sentence, Roof would serve life in prison, his attorneys said.