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Dylann Roof gets death sentence for Charleston massacre

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Dylann Roof was sentenced to death on Tuesday night for killing nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015.

The twelve-member jury – consisting of 10 women and two men – reached the unanimous sentence after deliberating for three hours. In December, the same jury found Roof guilty on all 33 counts of federal hate crimes for planning to kill nine and attempting to kill three others.

In his six-minute closing argument, the 22-year-old white supremacist showed no remorse for the massacre. While attempting to persuade the jury to spare his life, he claimed that he did not kill the victims out of a hatred for black people.

“I think it’s safe to say nobody in their mind wants to go into a church and kill people,” he told the jury. “In my [FBI confession] tape I told them I had to. But it’s not true: I didn’t have to. No one made me. What I meant was: I felt like I had to do it. I still feel like I have to do it.”

“Anyone, including the prosecution, who thinks I’m filled with hatred has no idea what hate is,” he continued, “they don’t know anything about hate.”

Prosecutors said Roof planned the shooting for months by writing a racist manifesto, specifically targeting the predominantly black church, and purchasing a .45 caliber Glock pistol with 88 rounds on his birthday. They explained that 88 is the numerical symbol for “Heil Hitler”.

“We learned about the defendant’s cold and calculated choices that caused those losses to happen,” prosecuting attorney Jay Richardson told the court, according to The Post and Courier. “His racist ideology the acquiring of that ideology, that’s part of his preparation, that’s part of what led him to walk in that door at Mother Emanuel on June 17 (2015).”

“He spent years acquiring this deep hatred,” he continued. “He ‘had to do it.’ Those are the words of an extraordinary racist.”

In the sentencing phase of the trial, Roof represented himself and denied psychological incapacity, refused to call witnesses and present any evidence.

The victims – Tywanza Sanders, 26; Reverend Clementa Pinckney, 41; Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45;  Depayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Myra Thompson, 59; Ethel Lance, 70; Reverend Daniel Simmons, 74; and Susie Jackson, 87; – were remembered in court by photos and video recordings.

Roof is also facing state murder charges and it is unclear if local prosecutors will change their plans after Tuesday’s ruling. The state trial is currently scheduled to begin on 17 January.

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Officers Down, Schools on Lockdown After North Carolina Prison Break

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According to reports, a failed escape in North Carolina’s Pasquotank Correctional Institution left several officers injured. Located in the Elizabeth City, North Carolina, the prisoners set fire to the prison’s sewing plant to distract prison guards on the scene. The incident was first reported at around 3:30 p.m. when an alert was sent out via the state’s public safety Twitter account.

One officer was reportedly struck with a hammer, while three others were sent to a nearby hospital. Of the three, one is said to be an unresponsive female officer and the two others are males between 40 and 50 years of age. Officials later confirmed to local media that at least six people were sent to the Sentara Albemarle Medical Center in Elizabeth City.

“It was chaos here,” the Virginian-Pilot cited Randy Cartwright, Pasquotank County Sheriff, saying. “We’re just getting things under control.”

In response to the incident, three nearby schools, Northside Elementary, Elizabeth City Middle School and Pasquotank County High School, have been placed on lockdown per instruction from Emergency Management.

The prison is an all-male institution with roughly 900 inmates. Speaking to reporters, an official with the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Officer said “all we know is there were multiple people injured,” Newsweek reported.

According to Heavy, the prison previously made headlines back in February and April this year. In February an inmate was caught with marijuana while in April a prisoner was stabbed multiple times — he did survive his injuries.​

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Mattis Says US Army Must Ensure Having Military Options Over North Korea

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US Secretary of Defense James Mattis has shed light on the Pentagon’s stance on the North Korean issue amid controversial remarks made by President Donald Trump, saying that “only one thing will work” with regard to Pyongyang.

When asked about the Pentagon’s North Korea strategy, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said at an annual meeting with the military that despite Washington sticking to the “diplomatically-led economic sanctions buttressed effort” to convince Pyongyang to “turn off this [nuclear program] path,” the US Army should be “ready to ensure that we have military options that our president can employ if needed.”

“[North] Korea is in all of our minds, and you know there is a reason,” Mattis said, adding, “What does the future hold? Neither you nor I can say.”

He emphasized that currently, Washington resorts to diplomacy, adding that the UN Security Council twice in a row voted unanimously in favor of imposing stronger sanctions on Pyongyang over its ballistic and nuclear missile launches.

“The international community has spoken, but that means the US Army must stand ready,” Mattis said.

Mattis’ statement comes after last week US President Donald Trump’s tweets suggested that Washington might be considering a military option regarding North Korea. Most recently, the US president said that “only one thing will work” with regard to Pyongyang as “talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid hasn’t worked.”

Earlier, he said that US State Secretary Rex Tillerson is “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” adding that “we’ll do what has to be done.”
Meanwhile, earlier this week a Russian lawmaker, who has just returned from North Korea, claimed that Pyongyang is ready to test a missile capable of reaching the US western coast. The Pentagon responded by telling Sputnik that it is “closely” watching North Korea.

The North Korean nuclear and missile test issue has been aggravated in recent months as Pyongyang has held several rounds of missile launches and nuclear tests. The most recent one was conducted on September 15, when North Korea launched a ballistic missile, which flew over Japan before falling into the northern Pacific some 20 minutes after the launch.

On September 11, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted its toughest resolution yet against North Korea over its latest nuclear test and repeated missile launches. The move prompted harsh criticism from Pyongyang which subsequently vowed to use any means possible to retaliate against the United States.

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