If he had committed his wretched crime in, say, Illinois or Nebraska, two states that recently joined the ranks of 17 other states without capital punishment, Dylann Roof would not face the prospect of death. He would live out his life in prison. South Carolina’s law books also afford punishment of life without parole, so a death sentence isn’t a certainty.
Life behind bars is an awful way to live, but it is a life — something Roof stole from his nine innocent victims. Over the years, he would periodically be treated to news stories about his life and crime, maybe some demented woman would fall into one of those prison romances with him, and he would be a celebrity to the perverted but thankfully declining number of miscreants in our country who still hold Jim Crow views.
Assuming he never gives up his racist outlook, Roof would be free to relive in his mind, and relate to like-minded racist prisoners, what he would see as his moment of glory. What kind of justice would that be for the relatives of the murdered in Charleston and their families?