The willingness to forgive dominated the news in the days after the June 17, 2015, shootings as victims’ families and survivors offered Roof forgiveness at his bond hearing. But there are many like Melvin Graham who said forgiveness is still a work in progress and he will forever grieve the death of his sister Cynthia Hurd.
He told reporters he has struggled because he feels like it isn’t quite right to see someone ordered to die, but he also knows Roof must be punished as severely as possible for what he did on earth.
“It’s hard to say a person should live when nine others died,” Graham said.
And while forgiveness has been offered from one side, Roof has shown no remorse for the slaughter during weeks in court. He had a final chance to ask the jury to spare his life Tuesday.
“I still feel like I had to do it,” the 22-year-old avowed white supremacist told the jury instead.