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As the emotional testimony from survivors of the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting continues in the Dylann Roof murder trial in South Carolina this week, Meg Kinnard, political and legal affairs reporter for the Associated Press, spoke with Roland Martin on NewsOne Now.

The two discussed the first day of the trial and the “heartbreaking” testimony of Felicia Sanders, one of the three survivors of the mass shooting in June 2015.

“There were a lot of emotions expressed in the courtroom and the jurors were seen dabbing their eyes as they heard it and as they left for break, and we can only imagine there will be more of this to come from other survivors and relatives of those lost,” said Kinnard.

NewsOne Now panelist Farajii Muhammad, Host of Listen Up! said, “It’s just so malicious how he [Dylann Roof] came into the church and it was so cold and so calculated––it’s hard for me to even have a real conversation outside of [the fact that Roof] needs to be sentenced to death because of the nature of the crimes he committed.” 

Many are still focused on the possibility of forgiving Roof for the hate-inspired killings, but Muhammad does not share that sentiment. He told viewers, “At this point and time that’s not justice. Our people need justice, those nine families need justice.”

Martin said Roof’s actions were “premeditated, it was planned out [and] it was heinous.”

Ray Baker of Ray Baker Media explained Roof’s defense attorney is using “the guilt phase of this trial to persuade the jury about the penalty phase, where he says such things as, ‘We don’t dispute the facts of the case, what we asked is––is this premeditated?'”

Baker said the defense attorney in the case is attempting to “paint the behavior” of Roof as “so far-reaching, so wild, so unrealistic and incomprehensible that it couldn’t be premeditated––thus it should not result in the death penalty.”

Watch Roland Martin, Meg Kinnard and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the Dylann Roof trial in the video clip above.


Watch NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.


‘Evil As Can Be:’ Dylann Roof Trial Opens With Gut-Wrenching Testimony