Charleston, SC — Dylann Roof's mental state was hidden from jurors, according to a November report which concluded Roof suffered from delusions of grandeur and was identified as autistic. Roof was convicted in the killing of nine Black parishioners in 2015 at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.
Make no mistake, Dylann Roof is a deranged mass murderer who slaughtered innocent people in cold blood. He deserves to die a horrid death. However, as noted below, there is a lot more to this story than what's on the surface.
The new details about Roof's mental state were recently unsealed. According to CNN, "The revelations came after US District Judge Richard Gergel unsealed 19 documents from competency hearings that help paint a picture of the 23-year-old's mental state both as a teen and while he was being held in prison after the church massacre."
Gergel halted jury selection for his trial in November to allow for a complete competency to stand trial evaluation to be conducted. Following the evaluation, jury selection resumed and in January Roof was found guilty. He was given the death penalty after pleading guilty to a long list of charges. He's been sentenced to death for the murders of nine innocent people who'd met for Bible study at their church.
Roof reportedly told a defense team physician he'd never be executed because in his words he'd, "be rescued by white nationalists after they took over the government." The reports go on to say he exhibited, "psychiatric symptoms that are not explained by autism spectrum disorder, including anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, disordered thinking, and psychosis (including delusions of grandeur and somatic delusions)."
Adding to his psychiatric diagnosis, his autism, and his belief he suffered from unexplained illnesses such as thyroid disease (somatic delusions), was the conclusion the mass-murderer was also schizophrenic. "It is my impression that it is too early to predict his psychiatric trajectory...but his symptoms appear to me to be consistent with the schizophrenia spectrum," Dr. Rachel Loftin wrote.
At the time of the killings the crime was largely considered a hate crime, White on Black, leading many politicians, including former President Barack H. Obama to visit the area, express outrage, demand calls for justice, and attend prayer vigils and memorial services.
Obama made the following statement;
The fact that this took place in a black church obviously also raises questions about a dark part of our history. This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked, and we know the hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals.
At one point in the aftermath, the former president even sang the song "Amazing Grace" in an apparent attempt to bring healing to a community affected by someone many proclaimed was a racist.
Many mainstream media outlets painted Roof as a cold-hearted racist who hated Black people, even though many of his Black friends denied such characterizations. The George Soros-funded Southern Poverty Law Center even called him a “disaffected white supremacist”.
But now a new picture is emerging of the killer; not one of a racist but, rather, a deranged man who was, according to court documents, autistic, schizophrenic, and suffering from psychosis. Roof, however, wants to be known as a "sociopath" saying to label him as autistic was to equate him with "nerds." "Nerds and losers have autism. Don't tell me I have autism," he told autism expert and William & Mary Professor John Elder Robison.
"I appreciate you coming here, but I don't need your help. I'm not autistic. There's nothing wrong with me. The state psychiatrist told me there's nothing wrong with me. He said I don't have autism. I'm just a sociopath," Roof proclaimed to the psychologist.
"I'm going to get pardoned in four or five years. This doesn't matter. Please don't come and testify for me. I don't need or want you here," he implored.
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Robison believed strongly Roof was suffering from embarrassment with the thought he might be labeled autistic. He made several observations which led him to believe Roof was truly autistic.
After meeting with Roof on November 5th, he prepared a statement under oath, for Roof's defense attorneys. Robison detailed why he arrived at his conclusions and the concerns his defense team should have moving forward in his case.
- Roof was more interested in the clothes he was going to wear than his own defense at trial. Robinson said this is consistent with how autistic individuals suffer from "extreme sensory sensitivities." His need to examine each and every article of clothing he would wear at trial, "went far beyond the simple desire to be dressed presentably," he concluded.
- Roof was more concerned with how he appeared than in helping his defense team prepare their case. Robison claimed Roof's "executive functioning" was affected by his autism.
- Roof, like most autistic individuals, had to have a certain daily routine in order to function properly.
- Stress from choosing the right patterned clothes was more important to Roof than his very life's path.
- Roof displayed a lack of emotional response to his case, even seeming to want to please the prison guards over meeting with experts for his defense.
- Robison was concerned with Roof's "limited facial expressions," saying uninformed jurors of his autism may interpret his smiling at inappropriate times as being disconnected emotionally from his actions, something the expert feared would "prejudice them against him."
Robison's conclusion was consistent with Roof's attorney's requests that he be given special accommodations during his court proceedings.
CNN also detailed the fact Roof was taking antidepressants before the mass murder. As The Free Thought Project has reported on numerous occasions, antidepressants are known to cause suicide and homicides in some individuals.
While it was known that Roof was abusing suboxone at the time of the murders, the admission of antidepressant use is significant.
Unsealing Roof's court documents, which revealed not only that he was autistic but was also taking antidepressants, should result in a larger discussion about not only the safety of antidepressants but also a long overdue conversation about the number of mass murderers who were on them.
Suicide, birth defects, heart problems, hostility, violence, aggression, hallucinations, self-harm, delusional thinking, homicidal ideation, and death are just a few of the side effects caused by the medication Roof was reportedly taking.
There have been 150 studies in 17 countries on antidepressant-induced side effects. There have been 134 drug regulatory agency warnings from 11 countries and the EU warning about the dangerous side effects of antidepressants.
Despite this deadly laundry list of potential reactions to these medications, their use has skyrocketed by 400% since 1988.
Currently, 11 percent of all Americans 12 years of age and over take antidepressant medication, which is a higher rate than all other countries in the world.
There are certainly people of all ages that can benefit from certain prescription medication. However, the most worrisome aspect of Roof’s ties to this medication is that the majority of mass shooters in recent U.S. history have links to these same meds.
Unfortunately, the fact that this deranged individual was on a drug that contributes to thousands of suicides, killings, and now mass murder will be glazed over and barely register as a blip in the media.
Disclaimer: While CNN did provide links to Robison's documents conferring a diagnosis of autism, they did not provide any links to Roof claiming "White nationalists" would rescue him. The original source material for that allegation cannot be located.