Upstate friend of Charleston Massacre victim reacts to Roof verdict

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GREER, S.C. (WSPA) – Friends of the victims of the Charleston Massacre say today’s verdict gives them a little more faith in the justice system.

7News spoke with the cousin of Rev. Depayne Middleton, one of the Mother Emanuel Nine. She told us that Thursday’s verdict gives her peace.

“It took a roof to shatter the ceiling of injustice,” Rev. Telley Lynnette Gadson the Senior Pastor St. Mark United Methodist Church said.

Thursday also would have been Middleton’s 51st birthday. Gadson said her distant cousin and friend received her license to preach the same night of the shooting.

“She believed in reconciliation,” Gadson said. “She believed in forgiveness.”

However, forgiveness is not a simple task even for people of faith.

“It’s almost as if the guilty verdict was the easy part,” Gadson said.

The next step in the trial phase is sentencing, and that brings into question capital punishment.

“We have to come to terms in where we are in what we say we believe,” Gadson said.

Churches are entities that preach the sanctity of life, but in this case, they’re pitted against someone who confessed to so tragically taking life away.

Gadson said she can’t say if she would support the death penalty in this case. “I really can’t answer,” she said. “I do believe in Grace, at the same time this has been just heart wrenching.”

She said she told her congregation in cases like this, it’s OK not to have the answer. She said the verdict did bring a gift of hope on her slain friend’s birthday.

“Hurt will go on for years and years to come, but now we can start the healing,” Gadson said.

Sentencing for Roof is set to begin on January 3rd.

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