Dylann Roof's first appeal of his death sentence for the murder of nine black parishioners in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, was rejected on Wednesday, reports The Los Angeles Times.
Hundreds of pages of psychological evaluations and court transcripts were also unsealed on Wednesday. The documents reveal an intense anxiety over Roof's court-appointed defense attorneys mounting a defense based on a developmental disability or a mental illness.
“If they say I have autism, it's like they are trying to discredit me. It discredits the reason why I did the crime,” Roof told U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel
Roof met with Gergel during a November pretrial hearing that was closed to the public.
“Your lawyers are trying to help you, Mr. Roof,” responded Gergel. “They are trying to marshal a defense for you."
During his appeal on Wednesday, Roof continued to chafe against being labelled as "autistic," telling Gergel that he believed that his defense was mistaking personality traits of his as signs of autism.
”I don't want them to say that because it's not true," said Roof.
“Could you explain that to me, being labeled autistic is worse than death?” Gergel said to Roof.
“Because once you've got that label, there is no point in living anyway,” Roof said.
Just because Dylan Roof is evil, doesn't mean he's mentally ill. Stop stigmatizing autism and mental illness.— Jay Enn (@Auroraknite) May 11, 2017
Some on social media are worried about how Roof's feelings reflect on autism as a whole.
Others are upset that Roof's attorneys would try and defend him in this manner.