Friend of Dylann Roof Gets 27 Months; Failed to Report Plot - NBC4 Washington
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Friend of Dylann Roof Gets 27 Months; Failed to Report Plot

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Friend of Dylann Roof Gets 27 Months; Failed to Report Plot
    Getty Images, File
    An view of Emanuel AME Church on June 18, 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina, a day after nine people were killed in a mass shooting during a prayer meeting there. A friend of the gunman has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for failing to report the plot. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    The only person with whom Dylann Roof shared his racist plot to massacre worshippers at a historically black South Carolina church was sentenced Tuesday to 27 months in prison for failing to report a crime and for lying to the FBI.

    Joey Meek cried at sentencing Tuesday in Charleston by the same federal judge who presided over Roof's trial, which ended in January with Roof being sentenced to death for the slaughter of nine people at Emanuel AME church.

    "I'm really, really sorry. A lot of beautiful lives were taken," said Meek, who began to cry at sentencing.

    Meek had faced 27 to 33 months behind bars.

    Dylann Roof Gets Death Penalty in Church Shootings

    [NATL] Dylann Roof Gets Death Penalty in Church Shootings
    Jurors on Tuesday imposed the death penalty on convicted gunman Dylann Roof, the 22-year-old who shot and killed nine church members at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
    (Published Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017)

    U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said he hoped the sentence would serve as a deterrent for anyone in the future who learns of something so serious and fails to come forward to authorities. He added that Meek was fortunate another massacre didn't occur because of the delay in identifying Roof.

    No family members of the victims spoke at sentencing.

    Meek said Roof shared his plan to shoot blacks at the historic African-American church in Charleston during a night at Meek's house where they drank vodka, snorted cocaine, smoked marijuana and played video games. Authorities said that was about a week before the June 17, 2015, killings.

    Roof Jury Considers Death Penalty

    [NATL] Roof To Trial Jury: 'There's Nothing Wrong With Me Psychologically'
    Dylann Roof, who shot and killed nine people at the Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina in 2015, spoke for himself during the sentencing phase of his trial, telling jurors "there's nothing wrong with me psychologically."
    (Published Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017)

    Meek signed a deal with prosecutors in 2016, agreeing to plead guilty to lying to authorities and failure to report a crime. Federal prosecutors said he had lied to the FBI by first denying Roof shared his plan. Authorities said he also had stopped a friend from calling police after hearing about the shooting to report Roof as a suspect.

    Gergel previously ruled that Meek could only be sentenced for what he did after the slayings, not for any inaction beforehand. Meek's "failure to make an earlier report is tragic and deeply regrettable, but his failure to report was not a violation of federal criminal law," the judge had written earlier.

    Meek also had agreed to help prosecutors as part of his 2016 deal. But they never called him during Roof's trial, in which Roof acted as his own lawyer for much of the proceedings and put up almost no defense.

    Family of Church Shooting Victim Reacts to Verdict

    [NATL] Family of Charleston Church Shooting Victim Reacts to Verdict
    Tyrone Sanders (left) and Felicia Sanders (center), family members of those killed at Emanual AME Church last year in Charleston, were pleased with the guilty verdicts in Dylann Roof's federal murder trial. Tyron and Felicia lost their son in the attack, while Felicia is also a survivor.
    (Published Monday, Dec. 19, 2016)

    Then just before Meek was initially set to be sentenced last month, prosecutors asked for a stiffer sentence than guidelines recommended, seeking to make an example of him and reflect the seriousness of the crime that Meek could have stopped if he'd picked up the phone.

    Meek's lawyer, Deborah Barbier, said recently that that was unfair.

    She said Meek had sent handwritten letters to the families of each victim apologizing. She also said he thinks regularly of what happened and is pained.

    'I Forgive You': Church Massacre Victims' Relatives Address Accused Killer

    [NATL] 'I Forgive You': Church Massacre Victims' Relatives Address Accused Killer
    Dylann Roof, the man accused of killing nine people inside a black church in Charleston, was confronted by relatives of the victims during his first court appearance. Many families spoke of forgiveness in tearful statements.
    (Published Friday, June 19, 2015)

    Barbier also had said previously that the U.S. government shares the burden of not stopping Roof, by failing to finish a background check when he went to buy the gun used in the killings.

    "This allegation ignores the Government's own failures in allowing Roof to buy and possess a handgun with pending drug charge," Barbier wrote previously in asking Gergel not to give Meek a longer sentence than the guidelines call for.

    Meek also is a product of his times where "we live in a society where people say shocking and violent things every day," wrote Barbier.

    Meek and Roof, both 22, met in middle school after Roof's mother asked him to be her son's friend. They drifted apart after Roof moved away in high school, then reconnected months before the shooting when Roof told Meek on Facebook that he saw his old friend's mugshot online.