DALLAS - For nearly a year-and-a-half now, the families and friends of nine beautiful souls, shot to death inside a Charleston, S.C., church, have been waiting.
Waiting for justice.
Waiting for peace.
"We've been mortally wounded," says Rev. Sharon Risher, daughter of victim Ethel Lance. "I think we just want to find some kind of new normalcy. Just to have a little bit of regular in our lives."
Risher hopes that wait will be over this week, as convicted mass murderer Dylann Roof receives his sentence for her mother's death and the death of eight others. Two of the other victims were Risher's cousins. Risher, a former chaplain at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, is in Charleston for the sentencing.
During the trial, people heard and saw Roof's recorded statements after the shootings.
"Somebody had to do something because black people are killing white people every day," he said on a video recording.
But even having heard the evidence, Risher told us something many might not believe or even understand. She says she'll accept whatever sentence the jury gives, but because of her faith, she does not support giving Dylann Roof the death penalty.
"You kind of go back and forth in your feelings about things, but in the depth of who I am, yes. Even Dylann Roof," she says.
"Does not deserve it, in your mind?" News 8 asked.
"Does not deserve the death penalty," Risher responds.
Risher will be one of at least 30 people testifying during the sentencing phase. Monday, she was going over what she plans to say. She says her mother's absence has created a big hole in the fabric of her family.
"Forgiveness will come. It will come. I know it will," Risher says. "It has to. But yet still, I'm still not there. I'm still not there."
Sentencing is on the docket. The emotional recovery will take more time.
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