The shooter, Dylann Roof, is petitioning a court of appeals to overturn his death sentence.
Roof's legal team filed a petition on Wednesday to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear his case regarding the validity of his death sentence. This filing was submitted after a month after a three-panel of judges dismissed Roof's notions that his trial and conviction were inherently flawed.
Roof's lawyers ask that the entire 4th Circuit review the decisions in question due to the prosecutors painting the victims in a sympathetic light, an act that the court can only admit in limited circumstances.
When Roof's legal team attempted to challenge the death sentence ruling in the Court of Appeals, the three-judge panel determined that "No cold record or careful parsing of statutes and precedents can capture the full horror of what Roof did," the panel wrote in a unanimous decision. "His crimes qualify him for the harshest penalty that a just society can impose. We have reached that conclusion not as a product of emotion but through a thorough analytical process, which we have endeavored to detail here."
Roof was arrested in 2015 after entering a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and killing nine African-American residents. Roof later confessed that he had committed the shooter out of a desire to start a race war. In 2017, Roof pleaded guilty to several murder charges and was given nine consecutive life sentences.