Dylann Roof Drove to 2nd Church on Night of Charleston Massacre

(CN) – Driving out of Charleston after massacring nine black parishioners in a downtown church, Dylann Roof stopped at another house of worship hoping to claim a second group of victims, prosecutors claim in newly unsealed court documents.

According to the filings, GPS data obtained during the investigation of the murders at the Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston, Roof drove directly to the Branch AME Church in nearby Summerville, South Carolina.

Prosecutors believe Roof planned to kill parishioners at the second church, but found it closed, a scheduled Bible class having been cancelled.

An analysis of the GPS data shows Roof slowed his car as he approached the Branch AME Church, and that the GPS was deactivated for about three minutes, suggesting he stopped and turn the car’s engine off.

Prosecutors say the data “supports the inference that Defendant intended to continue his racially motivated violence at Branch AME Church that night and, more specifically, that his intended targets were African-American congregants at the church.”

The documents were filed in September in anticipation of Roof’s federal trial on 33 murder and hate crimes charges. He was convicted on all counts in December, and in January became the first person ever sentenced to death for hate crime violations.

The GPS data was not presented during Roof’s trial, and his trip to the second trip was never mentioned during the proceedings.

Roof’s defense attorneys asked Judge Richard Gergel to exclude the GPS information and two photographs their client took of the Branch AME Church from trial arguing the evidence was irrelevant and that Roof merely drove by the second church.

Prosecutors tried to counter this argument by saying Roof could have simply continued out of Charleston on Interstate-26, the only highway leading directly out of the city, and there was no reason for a diversion past the Branch AME Church.

Roof is scheduled to be tried on state murder charges later this Spring. He also faces the death penalty in that case.

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