Brother of Charleston Massacre Victim Says Sentence Is a ‘Hollow Victory’

The brother of one of the Charleston church shooting’s nine victims told media Tuesday, Jan. 10, that though he was grateful for convicted gunman Dylann Roof’s death sentence, the result was a “hollow victory.”

“Today, we got justice for my sister,” says Melvin Graham, the brother of victim Cynthia Hurd. ” … This is a very hollow victory because my sister is still gone. I wish that this verdict could have brought her back, but it can’t.”

However, Graham said the verdict does serve a purpose.

“But what it can do is just send a message to those who feel the way he feels,” he says, “That this community will not tolerate it. When my sister was killed, this community pulled together in a way that I had never seen before. And I wish that that feeling, that love that we showed for each other in the city of Charleston, in the state of South Carolina and around the nation … would continue.”

Roof gunned down nine parishioners at Emanuel AME Church during Bible study in June 2015 in the first of his planned string of racial killings. The self-admitted white supremacist said he felt no remorse and insisted that it had to be done. While defending himself in court Jan. 4, Roof told the jury that “there is nothing wrong with me psychologically” after his defense team attempted to bring up his mental state.

A somber Graham told the media that he wants all of the killings across the nation to stop.

“I’m tired,” he says. “Every time I hear about a shooting, I cry. We have to stop this. I think that if we can stand up for each other [like] in the beginning, maybe we have a pretty good shot of [stamping] this out.”

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