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Family of Emanuel Victims Testify Against Dylann Roof

Several of the family members of the Mother Emanuel church massacre victims testified Friday in the sentencing trial of the man accused of killing their loved ones.

Cynthia Hurd

Charleston, SC (AP) - Several of the family members of the Mother Emanuel church massacre victims testified Friday in the sentencing trial of the man accused of killing their loved ones.

Here are the updates from court.

4:35 p.m.

The only son of the oldest victim killed during the Charleston church slaughter says his mother loved to sing and play games.

Walter Jackson Sr. testified Friday that his mother, Susie Jackson, was the heart of her large family and made sure everyone got to church. He said his mother cooked wonderful food, a talent she passed on to him.

Walter Jackson Jr. says attending church with his "Grandma Susie" at Mother Emanuel AME would sometimes be an all-day affair. But he says the family looked forward to sharing the experience with her.

Witnesses have been testifying this week in the sentencing trial of Dylann Roof, who faces a possible execution for his role in the shootings. Prosecutors have said they expect to finish their case Monday.


3 p.m.

The granddaughter of a woman killed in a shooting at a historic South Carolina church remembers a generous woman who was strict when necessary.

Najee Washington told jurors Friday about her grandmother Ethel Lance, who raised her and made sure she studied hard and made good grades.

Washington also said her "Granny" loved her children and grandchildren, buying bountiful gifts at Christmas and splurging on weekly manicures and pedicures.

Washington also talked about taking a selfie with her grandmother inside Emanuel AME Church, where the family attended every Sunday and where Lance was killed in June 2015.

Convicted shooter Dylann Roof faces a possible death sentence for the killings. Prosecutors expect to finish their case next week, and Roof, acting as his own attorney, says he plans to call no witnesses.


2 p.m.

The sister of a woman who was killed in the Charleston church massacre says the death has left her empty and at a loss.

Jackie Jones testified Friday that every day is a struggle without her strong, studious sister Cynthia Hurd. Jones says their family grew up attending Emanuel AME Church, where Hurd was among the nine shot to death during Bible study in June 2015.

Patrice Smith worked with Hurd in a Charleston library. She says Hurd helped her professionally but was also a friend, constantly checking on her during difficult times and treating her son as her own.

Smith took the stand during the sentencing phase of the federal trial of Dylann Roof. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Roof is representing himself and has said he won't put up any case arguing for his life.


The brother of a woman slain at a South Carolina church says his sister was naturally smart and worked at two libraries but because she loved the work.

Malcolm Graham testified Friday about his sister Cynthia Hurd. She became the family matriarch after their parents died. He says she read voraciously and was always aiming to learn more and ensure those around her were educated, too.

Hurd was one of nine people killed in the June 2015 shootings. Convicted church shooter Dylann Roof is acting as his own lawyer during sentencing at his death penalty trial and has not asked for his life to be spared.


11 a.m.

Authorities say Dylann Roof still embraces racist symbols, more than a year and a half after slaughtering nine black people at a historic South Carolina church.

FBI Special Agent Joseph Hamski testified Friday that the convicted Charleston church shooter wore shoes in jail with "racist symbols" scrawled on them.

Prosecutors displayed photos of the shoes Roof wore several weeks after his arrest in the June 2015 shootings at Emanuel AME Church. On them were crosses that Hamski said were symbols used by white supremacists.

Roof did not ask Hamski any questions on cross-examination. He is representing himself at his sentencing trial and has said he plans to put up no case in his own defense.


10:20 a.m.

An FBI agent and prosecutors are reviewing evidence that lays out Dylann Roof's movements the day of the shootings at Emanuel AME Church and his writings afterward.

Special Agent Joseph Hamski took the stand Friday as prosecutors re-introduced maps made from Roof's GPS signal showing his car was driven to the church the night of June 17, 2015. Hamski also verified evidence showing a call from Roof's home to the church as well as a handwritten list of other black churches that was found in his car.

Hamski also read some of Roof's writings. In one, he talked about ways whites were superior to other races and what they could do to assert their power.

The same jury that last month convicted Roof of 33 federal charges, including hate crimes and obstruction of religion, is mulling whether he should be sentenced to death or life in prison. Roof has said he'll put up no case in his own defense, and prosecutors say they expect to finish their presentations Monday.


8:40 a.m.

More emotional testimony is expected from family members of some of the people killed in the June 2015 slaughter at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Federal prosecutors say they plan Friday to present testimony from relatives of Cynthia Hurd, Ethel Lance and Susie Jackson. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson said the government could wrap up its case against Dylann Roof on Monday with the family of Tywanza Sanders.

The federal government is seeking the death penalty for Roof, convicted last month in the nine shooting deaths. Roof has put up no case arguing he should get life in prison, cross-examining no witnesses and saying he plans to call none of his own.


3:35 a.m.

One by one, friends and family members walked up to the witness stand and testified about the nine black church members gunned down during a Bible study in Charleston on June 17, 2015. They described personalities, future plans and final conversations.

The testimony came during the sentencing phase of Dylann Roof's death penalty trial. The same jury that convicted the 22-year-old white man of hate crimes and other charges will decide whether to sentence him to life in prison or death.

Roof faces murder charges in state court, where his trial had been slated to start later this month. But a state judge Thursday delayed that trial indefinitely because federal proceedings are ongoing.