Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof sentenced to death

Charleston church killer Dylann Roof has been sentenced to the death penalty.

The 22-year-old, who murdered nine black church members in South Carolina in June 2015, had not asked jurors to spare his life.

Shortly before they retired to consider his sentence, he showed no remorse, telling them: "I still feel like I had to do it".

He also said the prosecution and anyone else who hated him was "misled".

"They don't know what real hatred looks like," he added.

Roof representing himself in court. Credit: Art Lien/NBC News

Roof's victims had invited him to join their bible study group at Emanuel AME Church, the South's oldest black church, before he opened fire.

Prosecutors said he walked around the room methodically "executing one after the other".

He killed nine people, including Rev Clementa Pinckney, 41, and Rev Daniel Simmons, 74.

The other victims were Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; Depayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Myra Thompson, 59; Ethel Lance, 70; Susie Jackson, 87; and Tywanza Sanders, 26.

Three more people were wounded in the attack but survived.

A memorial service to the victims. Credit: AP

Roof represented himself at the hearing and did not call any witnesses on his behalf.

He told the court there was nothing wrong with him psychologically.

In extracts recovered from his diary after his arrest Roof wrote: "I would like to make it crystal clear. I do not regret what I did. I am not sorry. I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed."

After the sentencing, Roof's family released a statement saying they would always love him but apologising to his victim's families.

It said: "We will struggle as long as we live to understand why he committed this horrible attack, which caused so much pain to such good people.

"We wish to express the grief we feel for the victims of his crimes, and our sympathy to the families he has hurt. We continue to pray for the Emanuel AME families and the Charleston community."

Roof is believed to be the first person to be given the death penalty in the US for federal hate crimes.

The death penalty in South Carolina is lethal injection.

A formal sentencing hearing will take place on Wednesday.