Dylann Roof rejects Jewish, Indian attorneys for his appeal, calls them biological enemies
TERRA HAUTE, Indiana (WCIV) — Citing a "conflict of interest" regarding politics and religion, convicted Emanuel AME Church gunman Dylann Roof has asked a federal appeals court to dismiss his current defense attorneys and appoint new ones.
In a hand-written motion mailed Sept. 13 to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, Roof writes he believes his current attorneys could not possibly have his best interests in mind as they prepare a case for an upcoming appeal of his conviction in the Emanuel AME case, because the attorneys are Jewish and Indian.
"Trust is a vital component in an attorney-client relationship, and is important to the effectiveness of the defense," writes Roof, a self-avowed white supremacist who said he was trying to start a race war with the shooting at Emanuel AME. "Because of my political views, which are arguably religious, it will be impossible for me to trust two attorneys who are my political and biological enemies."
Roof wrote and mailed the request from a federal prison in Terra Haute, Indiana, Roof is on death row there after being found guilty and sentenced to death in December 2016 on 33 federal hate crime charges in connection to the racially-motivated shooting and killing of nine people at Emanuel AME, June 17, 2015.
Problems with his attorneys has become a recurring theme in Roof's legal proceedings. Roof was constantly at odds with his defense attorney, David Bruck, and his team leading up to and during his 2016 federal hate crimes trial.
Roof told his family during visits that Bruck and his team were the "sneakiest people," the "spawn of hell," and that federal prosecutors were "more honest" than them.
Eventually, Roof successfully lobbied to defend himself during parts of his trial after finding out Bruck intended to argue Roof likely had an autism spectrum disorder, and suffered from several mental illnesses, including delusions. Roof said he would rather die than be labeled mentally ill or on the autism spectrum.
Roof acknowledged the contentious relationship with Bruck in the motion to have his current attorneys replaced, saying Bruck also being Jewish interfered with their ability to communicate.
"His ethnicity was a constant source of conflict, even with my constant efforts to look past it," Roof writes. "My two currently appointed attorneys, Alexandra Yates and Sapna Mirchandani, are Jewish and Indian, respectively. It is therefore quite literally impossible that they and I could have the same interests relating to my case."
According to the motion, Roof also feels he is looking out for the best interest of all involved by requesting new attorneys now, in the interest of a speedy and efficient appeals process.
"To be as effective as they can be, the appeals should be worked on and written with my best interests in mind. I am confident after meeting my current attorneys they will be unable to represent me in an efficient manner."
Roof appealed his conviction and sentence to a higher court in May after Judge Richard Gergel denied Roof's request for a new trial.
Read Roof's motion to replace his attorneys embedded below. Mobile users can click HERE.