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The Latest: Judge formally sentences Dylann Roof to death

The Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the formal sentencing of Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof to death (all times local):

2:50 p.m.

A judge has formally sentenced Dylann Roof to death for killing nine black worshippers in a racist massacre at a Charleston church.

U.S. Judge Richard Gergel handed down the sentence Wednesday at a hearing to affirm the jury's decision on the death penalty for the 22-year-old avowed white supremacist. Gergel couldn't change the jury's decision.

Roof showed no reaction as he has through almost all of the federal hate crimes trial. He also did not choose to speak Wednesday and kept a blank face as Gergel sentenced him.

More than 30 family members of the victims at Emanuel AME church spoke during the hearing. Some were angry, others forgiving. But they all said Roof failed at his goal to further divide blacks and whites.

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12:20 p.m.

The daughter of a woman killed during a massacre at a Charleston church says she doesn't want the racist killer to face the death penalty.

Sharon Risher said Wednesday that 22-year-old Dylann Roof should sit in his cell and think about how he made the nine black people he killed at Emanuel AME church into martyrs.

Risher was the 21st family member to speak and the first to explicitly say he shouldn't face the death penalty. She is the daughter of Ethel Lance.

There has been plenty of anger during the sentencing hearing. One family member told Roof he should know how they feel because his mother had a heart attack in the courtroom.

Wednesday's hearing is to formally sentence Roof to death after a jury decided on the punishment the day before.

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10:15 a.m.

A woman who survived Dylann Roof's attack on a black church says she still holds on to the torn, bloodstained Bible she had that night.

Felicia Sanders said at Roof's formal sentencing hearing Wednesday that she forgave Roof because that was the easiest thing to do. But she said Roof has done nothing to help himself.

Sanders says she can't even close her eyes to pray after the attack on Emanuel AME church members during their final Bible study prayer.

Roof did not look at any of the family members, even one who demanded he look in his direction.

Roof will have a chance to speak later in the hearing.

(This version has been corrected to show that Sanderson survived the attack, but wasn't the victim who Roof purposefully left alive)

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10:05 a.m.

The jurors who sentenced Dylann Roof to death for killing nine worshippers at a Charleston church have asked the judge to return to the courtroom for the formal sentencing hearing.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel opened Wednesday's hearing saying the jury made the request when he went to thank them and dismiss them from service after they came to their verdict Tuesday.

Gergel cannot change the jury's death sentence, making Wednesday's sentencing a formality. Family members of victims will be able to speak to Roof directly, instead of just answering questions from prosecutors.

Gergel also granted a request from Roof to reappoint his attorneys for the hearing and said Roof also can speak.

Roof killed nine people during Bible study at Emanuel AME on June 17, 2015.

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3:55 a.m.

The families of the nine black people killed and the three who survived a racist massacre inside a South Carolina church will get a chance to speak directly to the man convicted in the shooting.

A federal jury sentenced Dylann Roof to death Tuesday. But a judge has to formally accept the sentence Wednesday, even though he can't change it.

The families shattered by the June 17, 2015, shooting at Emanuel AME Church can speak at Wednesday's hearing, and they won't be limited to just answering the questions of prosecutors.

Roof had a chance to speak Tuesday before the jury deliberated a death sentence or life in prison. He didn't ask for his life to be spared. Instead, the 22-year-old avowed white supremacist told jurors he still feels like he had to kill the black worshippers.

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