CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Dylann Roof’s mother suffered a heart attack not long after prosecutors described how her son planned a cold and calculated killing of nine black church members in a racially motivated attack, the white man’s attorney said in court documents Thursday.
Roof’s mother collapsed and said “I’m sorry” several times on Wednesday as family members and court security came to help her during the opening of her son’s federal death penalty trial.
Roof’s attorney mentioned the heart attack in court documents asking for a mistrial, saying a survivor’s testimony was so emotional that “spectators and even court personnel — including members of the prosecution and defense — were crying with her.”
The documents didn’t give the mother’s current condition.
Later Thursday, in an eerily silent courtroom, 360-degree computer images of the crime scene were shown to the jury. The pictures showed the victims lying in pools of blood on the beige tile floor of the fellowship hall at Emanuel AME Church. Most were clustered around circular tables where they had been holding a Bible study.
Shell casings and cartridge magazines were scattered around as were Bibles and purses. One of the 15 scans showed a wall poster with the words “Faith, Hope and Love.” Several people in a courtroom area for family members of the victims comforted each other while others dabbed tears from their eyes.
Roof’s attorney David Bruck argued in the motion for the mistrial that Wednesday testimony from shooting survivor Felicia Sanders was inappropriate because it seemed to contain a statement on what Roof’s sentence should be.
Sanders told jurors about the horror of seeing her son and her aunt shot to death and sheltering with her granddaughter beneath a table. At one point, she looked across the courtroom toward Roof and called him “evil, evil, evil.”
Bruck asked her on …read more