Dylann Roof: No Reaction as Victims' Relatives Speak
They told him they forgive him
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2015 2:20 PM CDT
This photo provided by Charleston County Sheriff's Office shows Dylann Roof Thursday.   (Charleston County Sheriff's Office via AP)

(Newser) Dylann Roof made his first court appearance today, and though he did so via video, he was still able to hear the message delivered by relatives of the nine victims shot to death in a Charleston church. Forgiveness. "I forgive you, my family forgives you," said Anthony Thompson, per AP. "We would like you to take this opportunity to repent. ... Do that and you'll be better off than you are right now." Another, the mother of Tywanza Sanders, said that "every fiber in my body hurts," but added, "May God have mercy on your soul." (Sanders reportedly dove in front of the first shots, which had been directed at his 87-year-old aunt, reports the New York Times. Neither of them survived.) "We have no room for hate," added a representative for the family of DePayne Middleton-Doctor. "We have to forgive." (More statements here.)

Roof showed little reaction, and he spoke only to answer questions—for example, to state his age of 21 and that he was unemployed. The magistrate judge in Charleston set a bond of $1 million on weapons charges, though the figure doesn't take into account the nine murder charges against him. Another judge will make that decision later. When Roof returns to his cell, he will be next door to the former police officer who is charged with killing Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, notes Mashable. Another angle making headlines today is that Roof reportedly told authorities that he nearly backed out of his plan inside the church because "everyone was so nice" to him, reports NBC News.