White supremacist and convicted mass murderer Dylann Roof has petitioned to remove two lawyers from his defense team.
In a handwritten letter filed with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia on Monday and obtained by Buzzfeed, Roof claimed it was “impossible” for him to “trust” his court-appointed attorneys, Alexandra Yates and Sapna Mirchandani, who he identified as Jewish and Indian respectively, and described them as his “political and biological enemies.”
Because of their race, he wrote, it was “quite literally impossible that they and I could have the same interests relating to my case.”
Roof, 23, killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina during a 2015 shooting rampage. He later said he’d hoped the slayings would ignite a race war.
In December, Roof was convicted in federal court of 33 hate crime charges related to the shooting. He was sentenced to death for his crimes.
According to the Post and Courier, Yates and Mirchandani were appointed to Roof’s case after the sentencing. The attorneys are now working to appeal his death sentence.
In his recent petition, Roof requested that Yates and Mirchandani be dismissed from his defense team and “replaced.”
“I am confident after meeting my current attorneys that they will be unable to represent me in an efficient manner,” he wrote, noting that he had clashed with his former attorney, the renowned death penalty lawyer David Bruck, who is Jewish.
Bruck’s “ethnicity was a constant source of conflict even with my constant efforts to look past it,” Roof wrote.
Roof had sought to represent himself but ended up permitting Bruck to take the role of lead counsel during the guilt phase of his trial. He told Bruck that he hated him and would kill him if he was ever released from prison. In response to plans by his attorneys to present a mental health defense, Roof called his legal team the “sneakiest people I ever met.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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