CHARLESTON, SC (WIS) - "Guilty on all counts."
And just like that, Dylann Roof, the 23-year-old Lexington County man convicted in federal court of murdering nine African-American parishioners in a racially-charged shooting in June 2015, pleaded guilty to nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder in state court on Monday.
The shooting claimed the lives of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Ethel Lance, 70; Susie Jackson, 87; Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49; Rev. Daniel Simmons, 74; and Myra Thompson, 59.
Roof made his first appearance in a courtroom since his conviction in November 2016.
The judge asked Roof various questions about his competency, whether or not he understood what he was pleading to, and understood the consequences.
As a result of the pleas, Roof will receive life without parole from the state. However, Roof was sentenced to the death penalty following last year's federal trial.
Roof also waived his right to an appeal.
Families of the victims were also given the chance to speak at the trial. Current Emanuel AME Church Pastor Eric Manning spoke first, saying the church now faces "far-reaching" challenges as a result of the shooting.
"We visit the crime scene every day," Manning said. "We worship where nine lives were taken and five survivors lives changed forever."
Manning also addressed Roof directly.
"Mr. Roof, your senseless actions did not work," Manning said.
Roof's grandfather, Joe Roof, spoke for the Roof family. He is well-known in the legal community and was even president of the Richland County Bar at one point. Today, he said he can't explain what his grandson did.
He said he'd like to hold him and hug him again, but in reality, today is likely the last time he'll see him.
"What happened here, I will never understand," Joe said. "I will go to my grave not understanding what happened other than I lost."
Instead, Joe offered his apologies to the victims.
"We're sorry," Joe said. "We're just as sorry as we can be that this happened."