WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Roof is accused of shooting dead nine African-American churchgoers at a Bible meeting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on June 17, 2015.
Roof later admitted to the crimes, saying he hoped they would spark a race war in the United States.
"Following the department’s rigorous review process to thoroughly consider all relevant factual and legal issues, I have determined that the Justice Department will seek the death penalty," Lynch stated on Tuesday. "The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision."
He faces 33 federal charges, including 12 hate crimes charges, which make him eligible for either the death penalty or a sentence of life in prison.