A seventy two-yr-previous retired nurse recounted for jurors on Wednesday how she cowered underneath a desk whereas Dylann Roof killed 9 of her fellow worshippers at a historic black church however spared her so she might inform the story of what he had achieved.
Polly Sheppard was the final individual to testify for the prosecution at Roof’s federal hate crimes trial in Charleston, South Carolina. After she detailed the bloodshed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015, Roof informed the decide he didn’t need to testify and the protection rested its case with out calling any witnesses.
Legal professionals are set to provide their closing arguments on Thursday.
There’s little doubt about Roof’s guilt. The 22-yr-previous, a self-described white supremacist, confessed to the crime in a videotaped interview and has provided to plead responsible if prosecutors halt their quest for a demise sentence.
The federal government refused, nevertheless, and the penalty part of Roof’s trial will get underneath approach in January if he’s convicted of federal hate crimes leading to demise, obstruction of faith and firearms violations.
Sheppard’s eyewitness account added to the chilling testimony and proof jurors will think about. Whereas she was on the stand, jurors heard the tape of her pleading with emergency dispatchers for assist after the shootings.
“Please come,” she stated, describing how a white gunman had shot the church’s pastor and others attending a Bible research.
Sheppard, a member of the church’s trustee board, was composed whereas testifying how Roof opened hearth after parishioners had closed their eyes in prayer.
She stated she thought the sound was one thing electrical till she heard Felicia Sanders screaming, “He’s capturing everyone, Miss Polly!”
Sheppard dived underneath a desk and prayed aloud because the photographs rang out, she testified. Roof advised her to close up.
“Have I shot you but?” Sheppard stated he requested her.
When she responded no, Sheppard stated Roof advised her, “I’m not going to. I’m going to go away you right here to inform the story.”
Sanders, fifty nine, and a younger woman on the church assembly additionally survived. Sanders was the primary prosecution witness.
Jurors earlier on Wednesday heard a grim accounting of the a number of gunshot wounds suffered by the lifeless.
Susie Jackson, the oldest sufferer at 87, was hit no less than 10 occasions, a forensic pathologist testified. The Reverend Clementa Pinckney, pastor on the church and a state legislator, died from 5 gunshots.
(Reporting by Harriet McLeod; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Modifying by Invoice Trott and Howard Goller)