A manhunt followed, and the next day police were tipped off after a florist in North Carolina spotted a black Hyundai with SC plates that matched the description of Roof's vehicle.
Dylann Roof, clad in a black and white striped prison jumpsuit and in shackles, appeared in court Monday afternoon, where he entered guilty please to murder and attempted murder charges.
After Roof's plea was entered, Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson heard from members of Emanuel AME Church.
Before being sentenced in federal court, Roof was unrepentant, saying "I felt like I had to do it and I still feel like I had to do it". Now that his case in state court has concluded, Roof will move to a federal prison, where he'll be on death row.
In the end, Gergel ruled both that Roof was competent to stand trial and then that he had the right to represent himself in its death penalty phase, even if that meant mental illness evidence was kept from jurors.
Roof opened fire on a Wednesday night on June 17, 2015, after sitting almost an hour with members of a small Bible study group.
Roof's defense team said the court "should not force client and counsel to proceed with jury selection under such serious - and also apparent - strain".
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"We have been distressed and just sick over what has happened to these families". "With us securing a life sentence just in case - in the very, very unlikely event that something were to happen to the federal conviction - we have our conviction in place".
Putting the survivors and the families of those killed in the shooting through a second death penalty trial "was not the smartest, wisest or most compassionate thing to do", when a federal judge had already imposed a death sentenced on Roof, a Columbia-area white supremacist.
"The impact at Mother Emanuel has been far-reaching", said Pastor Eric Manning, who now leads the congregation. Family members of the victims did provide more words.
Court staff had not posted all of the newly unsealed documents by late Tuesday, and Gergel held back others - including a full transcript of a second Roof competency hearing - so he can consider possible redaction requests offered by the defense. For surely love is always stronger than hate, and hate will never win.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Dylann Roof fought so hard to keep evidence of any mental problems out of his trial because he anxious it would prevent him from getting a high government position if white nationalists took over the county, according to court documents from his lawyers.
"I hope that everyone can understand that nothing is all bad".