The white nationalist that killed nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina had a crazy hypothesis.

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Dylann Roof thought his massacre at the Mother Emanuel AME church would spark a race war that would free him.

His attorneys made the revelations in a filing to appeal his conviction and death sentence on Tuesday.


“When Dylann Roof represented himself at his capital trial, he was a 22-year-old, ninth-grade dropout diagnosed with schizophrenia-spectrum disorder, autism, anxiety, and depression, who believed his sentence didn’t matter because white nationalists would free him from prison after an impending race war,” the filing says.

The 321-page motion was filed with the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals. Roof’s attorneys wrote that the federal trial court “clearly erred in finding Roof competent to stand trial and sentencing. They stated that the Court “violated his due process rights by holding inadequate competency hearings.”

Roof represented himself at his capital trial. However, his attorneys are arguing he was mentally incompetent and “disconnected from reality.”

After being convicted on federal charges, Roof pled guilty in April 2017 to state murder and attempted murder charges in the killings. He was sentenced to nine consecutive life sentences and three consecutive 30-year sentences for those counts.