Charleston, SC (WLTX) – The friends of the slain pastor of Mother Emanuel have mixed emotions about the death sentence for the convicted killer and white supremacist.
“The verdict does bring about some closure in the sense that we don’t have to be in court every single day anymore,” Dr. Kylon Middleton, Rev. Clementa Pinckney’s best friend explained. “It really continues a process that facilitates you know mixed emotions on both sides, because some people are for the death penalty and some people are against the death penalty.”
Middleton said it’s not necessarily a time to celebrate over the fact that Dylann Roof, the man convicted of killing and shooting nine Black worshippers at Mother Emanuel in 2015 will get death.
“This is a day that brings some finality to a long, very painful chapter, it’s certainly not a day of celebration,” Middleton said.
“This is not a jubilant time. This is not a time to say this is a celebration. This is a sad time. It does not end well. We have still lost a loved one,” Senator Gerald Malloy, Pinckney’s friend and lawyer echoed.
Malloy said it’s a very challenging time for everyone involved.
“We have the loss of nine lives at a church of people that are ages from 87 to 26 years of age. The 87-year-old woman took at least 11 shots in her body,” the senator said of the tragedy.
“Senator Pinckney was a great man, one of the most decent people you would ever meet in your life,” Malloy said of his friend. “We don’t know what he would have become.”
Malloy also shared how Pinckney was truly a man who supported the voiceless. He said his friend had great plans for Mother Emanuel.
“I still can’t imagine life without him although he’s been gone for 18 months. At this point you know giving me a sense of peace,” Middleton said. “When I’m still you know kind of taking his children to dance and or piano, and dealing with two little girls who don’t have a father and a wife who no longer has a husband, there’s no peace there.”
Middleton said he forgives Roof and is committed to continuing Pinckney’s legacy and believes his friend is smiling on them from heaven.
“I think he’s smiling when we walked out of the courtroom, although it’s still chilly, the sun was shining brightly, I look at all of those things as you know almost a sign, if you will of affirmation,” Pinckney’s best friend said. “And just him in the universe sort of supporting the fight that we continue and that we’re going to continue.”