The Justice Department says it will seek the death penalty against Dylann Roof, accused of fatally shooting nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., in June 2015.
In a statement, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said:
"Following the department's rigorous review process to thoroughly consider all relevant factual and legal issues, I have determined that the Justice Department will seek the death penalty. The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision."
The federal hate-crime charges against Roof "center on both the victims' race and their identity as church-goers who were attempting to follow their religious beliefs when Roof attacked," as The Two-Way reported last summer. At the time, Lynch called hate crimes "the original domestic terrorism."
There is a separate case against Roof filed by authorities in South Carolina, NPR's Carrie Johnson notes. Prosecutors in that case are also seeking the death penalty, as The Two-Way reported in September.
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