The death sentence verdict for murderer and avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof comes with mixed emotions for many millennials.
Roof, who massacred nine black people at the Emanuel AME Church in June 2015, will spend the rest of his life on death row, and will be the first to receive the death penalty for a federal hate crime.
Millennials between 18-to-29 years-old oppose the death penalty more than any other age group. And, 65 percent of South Carolina blacks believe that Roof should have received a life sentence without parole, while 65 percent of SC whites believe Roof should receive the death penalty.
In an interview with Red Alert Politics, Jeremy McLellan, a Charleston comedian and friend to one of the victims, Tywanza Sanders, said that he opposed the verdict, but is relieved the trial is finally over.
“I’m glad the victim’s families were able to testify about the lives he stole,” McLellan said. “Morally and theologically, I think he deserves death, but I don’t think it’s the government’s job to kill people unless that’s the only way to prevent them from killing anyone else. Life in prison would prevent that. Also, I think vengeance belongs to God.”
He also pointed out, “Of course, I’m not going to lose any sleep over Dylann Roof being executed.”
In reaction to the sentencing verdict, McLellan posted this on his Facebook page:
McLellan, who performs regularly at local open mics, said they had a show the following night after the shooting.
“The headliner did well because he was from out of town. The rest of us were a wreck and basically cried on stage.” McLellan said.
He recalled he developed a relationship with Tywanza while he was starting his career as a stand-up comedian. “[Tywanza was] a poet in town who would occasionally come to the open mics and read poetry. It wasn’t comedy but we liked him, so we let him.”