Two days after allegedly killing nine parishioners at a Charleston, S.C., church and leading authorities on a manhunt that concluded in North Carolina, Dylann Roof made his first court appearance. During the bond hearing, family members of the victims were allowed to address the defendant if they chose to do so.
Charleston County Chief Magistrate Judge James Gosnell started the proceedings with a statement recognizing that this violent event has damaged families on both sides of the crime.
“Charleston is a very strong community,” he said. “We have big hearts. We are a very loving community. And we are going to reach out to everyone, all victims, and we will touch them. We have victims, nine of them, but we also have victims on the other side. There are victims on this young man’s side of the family. Nobody would have ever thrown them into the whirlwind of events that they’ve been thrown into.”
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He continued by urging those in the community to “find it in our hearts not only to help those who are victims but to also help his family as well.”
After expressing his confidence in local law enforcement and the prosecutors involved, he addressed Roof and invited victims’ loved ones to speak.
Ethel Lance’s daughter used the opportunity to share a tearful message with the man accused of killing her mother.
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“I forgive you,” she said. “You took something very precious away from me. I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again; but I forgive you and have mercy on your soul. You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people. But God forgives you; and I forgive you.”
A mourning family member of victim Myra Thompson also expressed forgiveness toward Roof, going on to urge him to repent of his sins.
“These suffering family members live and reflect the true teachings of Christ,” one Breitbart reader opined. “Their strength is far greater than mine, their example so humbling.”
Did these mourning loved ones show Christ’s love to this defendant? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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