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A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof

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“What are you?” a member of the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston asked at the trial of the white man who killed eight of her fellow black parishioners and their pastor. “What kind of subhuman miscreant could commit such evil?... What happened to you, Dylann?”
Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah spent months in South Carolina searching for an answer to those questions—speaking with Roof’s mother, father, friends, former teachers, and victims’ family members, all in an effort to unlock what went into creating one of the coldest killers of our time.
Sitting beside the church, drinking from a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, he thought he had to go in and shoot them.
They were a small prayer group—a rising-star preacher, an elderly minister, eight women, one young man, and a little girl. But to him, they were a problem. He believed that, as black Americans, they were raping “our women and are taking over our country.” So he took out his Glock handgun and calmly, while their eyes were closed in prayer, ope…

Nevada Man Released from Death Row After Evidence Reveals Innocence of 1988 Murder

Ha’im Al Matin Sharif (AKA Charles Robins)
A Nevada man was released from death row last week after nearly 29 years in prison for a murder evidence now shows he did not commit.

Ha’im Al Matin Sharif (AKA Charles Robins) was convicted in 1988 and sentenced to death for the murder of his girlfriend’s 11-month-old baby girl. 

A medical examiner testified the child had been physically abused and ultimately murdered. The child’s mother testified that Sharif physically abused the child.

Sharif filed many appeals and in 2011, the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the District of Arizona began a review of his case. 

Attorney Cary Sandman noticed that the child’s injuries were consistent with Barlow’s disease (infantile scurvy). 

Medical experts reviewed the evidence and agreed. Sandman also discovered some of the child’s injuries occurred before Sharif was living with the child’s mother.

Sandman then interviewed the child’s mother, who said her testimony was false and she had never seen Sharif abuse the child. She later recanted her testimony, saying she agreed to lie in court after police threatened to take away her surviving children.

After an evidentiary hearing and a statement from another doctor agreeing the baby died from Barlow’s disease, prosecutors began negotiations for a deal. 

In the end, Sharif agreed to an amended conviction of second-degree murder and a reduction of his sentence to time served. Had he chosen to go back to trial, he could face more years of incarceration and possibly another death sentence.

Sharif told the Arizona Republic that he is looking forward to building a future for himself in Washington state, where he will move in with relatives.

“I have a level of optimism,” he said. “But I’m cautiously optimistic.”

Read the Arizona Republic article here.

Source: Innocence Project, June 15, 2017

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