Dylann Roof should not have had the right to fire his lawyers when they wanted to present evidence of his mental instability, and he should not be executed, write Frank R. Baumgartner and Betsy Neill of the Washington Post. Their research found a significant prevalence of mental illness among prisoners that were executed. The American justice system should not seek to execute those who are mentally unstable, including Roof, they infer. His desire to represent himself and dismiss mental incompetence as an excuse mirrors many past executed inmates' desire for suicide by execution, suggest Baumgartner and Neill.
To shed light on a different perspective on the morality of executing Dylann Roof, we looked at Andrew Cohen’s January NBC News article. According to Cohen, Dylann Roof’s decision to take full responsibility for his actions and not blame mental instability, which will likely result in him being executed, should be respected. Roof chose to be his own lawyer, profess his mental aptitude, and not present any mitigating evidence in his trial. Cohen argues that we should respect that choice and allow Roof the path to the death penalty. Roof understood what awaits him and seems to embrace any punishment he faces for his actions, believes Cohen.