The U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal Tuesday from mass murderer Dylann Roof over his 2015 death sentence conviction. The court did not comment on the case in dismissing it.
Roof was found guilty of murder after authorities said he opened fire during the closing prayer of a bible study, killing nine members of a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. Roof was 21 at the time of the massacre.
Roof asked the Supreme Court to review his case after a federal appeals court denied overturning his conviction and death sentence last year, saying the legal record cannot even capture the “full horror” of what he did.
The Supreme Court was asked to answer what should happen when a capital defendant who is deemed mentally competent to stand trial disagrees with their attorneys sharing evidence depicting the defendant as mentally ill.
Roof demanded evidence of his mental health be left out of his trial and fired his legal representation during sentencing.
Roof represented himself after firing his legal team and attempted to block any evidence that showed him as mentally ill — even though his attorneys argued it may have helped him avoid the death penalty.
Roof successfully prevented jurors from hearing evidence about his mental health, “under the delusion” that “he would be rescued from prison by White-nationalists — but only, bizarrely, if he kept his mental-impairments out of the public record,” his attorneys claimed.
In the appeal to the Supreme Court, Roof’s attorneys argued that he should not have been allowed to represent himself during sentencing, a critical phase of his trial.
Roof can still seek other appeals in his sentence, according to the Associated Press. He pleaded guilty in 2017 and is on federal death row at a maximum-security facility in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Roof is the first person in the U.S. to receive a death sentence on federal hate crimes charges.