Home / National News / Dylann Roof Hears Victims' Families Speak at First Court Appearance


(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Several family members of the nine people killed at Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church spoke at Dylann Roof’s bond hearing Friday afternoon.

“I forgive you,” one woman said through tears. “You hurt me, you hurt a lot of people.”

Another woman said, “We welcomed you Wednesday night in our Bible study with open arms. … Every fiber in my body hurts. … And I’ll never be the same.”

Judge James Gosnell opened Roof’s hearing with a lengthy statement, calling for strength for the victims’ families and the family of the alleged shooter.

“There are victims on this young man’s side of the family,” Gosnell said. “We must find it in our heart…to help his family as well.”

Roof, shown on video camera, appeared stoic. He stood cuffed with two heavily armed guards behind him.

Roof has been charged with nine counts of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, according to the Charleston Police Department. Roof is ineligible for bond on the murder charges, by state law. The judge set $1 million bond on the weapon charge.

Roof, 21, allegedly confessed to killing nine people at the Charleston church Wednesday night, according to a law enforcement source briefed on the investigation.

“We are getting cooperation at this point,” the official told ABC News Friday.

Interviews with Roof are ongoing, the official said.

Roof has been assigned public defender Ashley Pennington, according to court personnel. Pennington has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

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