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(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — While the mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, has “no doubt” the death penalty will be sought in the Dylann Roof church shooting case, he said he is personally “not a proponent of the death penalty.”

“If you’re going to have a death penalty, then certainly this case would merit it,” Mayor Joseph P. Riley told reporters Friday, though expressing his preference for prison time.

“No doubt it will be sought, and I have no control over that,” he said of state law that makes the death penalty an option.

Riley, who has been widely admired during his 40 years as mayor, said he believes capital punishment “collectively, over time, adds to violence.”

“I think people who commit serious crimes should lose their freedom forever,” Riley, 72, said at a news conference in Charleston.

The mayor also on Friday touched on Charleston’s inclusive community.

“Our citizens are all races and backgrounds and all neighborhoods work very closely together,” Riley said.

“Mr. Roof did not live in Charleston. He didn’t grow up here. He lived in a 100 mile away town and came here,” Riley added. “So his actions are not in any way representative of this city or this community. They’re representative of somebody who lived away and mind and heart was twisted that caused him to exact this horrible deed.”

Roof, 21, has been charged with nine counts of murder in the shooting deaths Wednesday at the predominantly black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

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