The recording of Roof was played Friday for the jurors weighing the fate of the 22-year-old for the first time at his federal death penalty trial.
In the video, the FBI could be seen reading Roof his rights and making sure he understood that he was giving a statement without a lawyer present.
Roof did not appear to be under the influence of anything and showed no real emotion when he made the statement following his arrest on June 18, 2015 in Shelby, North Carolina, FBI investigator Michael Stansbury testified.
And Roof was not sure how many people he killed at the Emanuel AME Church.
“Five, not really sure, ” he said. “Maybe four?” When asked if he said anything to the victims, Roof answered, “I didn’t say anything to them before.”
“It was very fast,” he said on the video.
Roof told the FBI agent he researched his target and went on the killing spree because blacks were raping white women. “I do consider myself a white supremacist,” he admitted.
Sitting at the defense table, Roof did not look at the FBI agent as he was being questioned. But the wrenching footage is likely to ratchet-up the anguish at the already emotionally fraught trial.
On Wednesday, Roof’s mother suffered a
heart attack after prosecutors laid out for the court how her son plotted the murders of the black Bible study participants on June 17, 2015 in the fellowship hall of the Emanuel AME Church.
So far Roof, who has admitted targeting the Charleston church, has barely uttered a word at his trial.
While the proceedings have been punctuated at times by the sobs of the victims’ loved ones, Roof has sat stone-faced and has rarely looked at the people whose lives were torn apart when he unleashed a massacre.
Until Wednesday, when Roof showed up in court wearing a gray sweater and slacks, the go-to getup for the admitted killer with the bowl haircut had been his striped jail jumpsuit.