The Power of Forgiveness
This is stunning. No riots in Charleston. Prayers and forgiveness.
Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance, said at the hearing, her voice breaking with emotion. “You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”
“I forgive you.’ Relatives of Charleston church shooting victims address Dylann Roof. The relatives of people slain inside the historic African American church in Charleston, S.C., earlier this week were able to confront the accused gunman Friday at his first court appearance. One by one, those who chose to speak at a bond hearing did not turn to anger. Instead, while he remained impassive, they offered him forgiveness and said they were praying for his soul. I forgive you,”
The bond hearing in North Charleston was the first public appearance of Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old arrested for the shootings, since police booked him into a Charleston County detention center and said he was charged with nine counts of murder.
Roof appeared at the bond hearing in a video feed from the Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston, S.C.
At the hearing, Judge James B. Gosnell Jr. said he could not set bond for the murder charges, but said he set bond for $1 million for the charge of possessing a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. He also said Roof would appear in court in October and again in February 2016.
Roof only spoke to confirm his address, age and to state that he is unemployed. While a procession of victims rose to speak, Roof largely started down, his eyes avoiding the camera trained on his face.arlett A. Wilson, the prosecutor for Charleston County, declined to make a statement during the hearing. Attorneys for Roof said they understood that he would not be able to post bond.
Gosnell began the hearing by saying that there was pain on both sides — the victims of the shooting inside the Emanuel AME church as well as the relatives of Roof who are reeling from what happened. He then recited the names of the people killed inside the church, and each time asked if any relatives or representatives of the slain wanted to make a statement in the courtroom.
At one point, one of the people who survived the shooting rose to speak. Felicia Sanders survived the shooting by pretending to be dead,a relative said, but her son, Tywanza Sanders, was killed.
“We welcomed you Wednesday night in our Bible study with welcome arms,” said Felicia Sanders, her voice trembling. “Tywanza Sanders was my son. But Tywanza Sanders was my hero. Tywanza was my hero….May God have mercy on you.”
Some people chose not to speak. Others, like a relative of Myra Thompson, echoed the forgiving sentiment, calling on Roof to repent.
Wanda Simmons, granddaughter of Daniel Simmons, said that the pleas for Roof’s soul were proof that “hate won’t win.”
One by one, they stood to speak, and each time, Roof remained impassive, his eyes cast downward.
Roof was arrested Thursday morning in North Carolina after a florist saw him in his car and called police. On Friday morning, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called the shooting spree “an absolute hate crime” and called on prosecutors to seek the death penalty. Dylann Roof, who faces a court hearing Friday, has been charged with nine counts of murder in connection with an attack inside a historic.