Dylann Roof's friend gets 27 months

2017-03-22 05:20
Dylann Roof in court. (Randall Hill, AP)

Dylann Roof in court. (Randall Hill, AP)

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

Joey Meek cried at sentencing 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 the Emanuel AME church.

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

Played video games

US 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 had 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.

Meek wasn't prosecuted for failing to report Roof's plans, but - authorities said - for stopping a friend from calling police after hearing about the shooting and reporting Roof as a suspect.

Federal prosecutors also said Meek lied to the FBI by first denying Roof shared his plans.

Drifted apart

Meek had agreed to plead guilty earlier and help prosecutors. 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 defence.

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 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.
Read more on:    facebook  |  dylann roof  |  us

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