Dylann Roof, who was sent to federal death row after being found guilty of gunning down nine people two years ago at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., has petitioned to have his legal team dismissed.
“My two currently appointed attorneys, Alexandra Yates and Sapna Mirchandani, are Jewish and Indian respectively,” Roof wrote in a letter filed Monday with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “It is therefore quite literally impossible that they and I could have the same interests relating to my case.” Roof also added that his attorneys are “a barrier to effective communication.”
The handwritten note goes on to state, “Because of my political views, which are arguably religious, it will be impossible for me to trust two attorneys that are my political and biological enemies.”
Roof confessed to the crime during a taped interrogation, at times laughing about the killings, and claiming he planned to start a race war because he is a white supremacist. Roof’s defense attorney David Bruck argued that his client was influenced by hateful online rhetoric. The Post and Courier reported that Bruck wanted to present evidence of Roof’s mental illness in a bid to spare his life, but Roof opposed it.
In his letter, Roof says that Bruck is Jewish and that it “was a constant source of conflict even with my constant efforts to look past it.” Roof had sought to represent himself but ended up permitting Bruck to take the role of lead counsel during the guilt phase of his trial. He told Bruck that he hated him and would kill him if he was ever released from prison. In response to plans by his attorneys to present a mental health defense, Roof called his legal team the “sneakiest people I ever met.”
“Because of my political views, which are arguably religious, it will be impossible for me to trust two attorneys that are my political and biological enemies,” Roof said in a handwritten, three-page motion filed Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.