News Wrap: Dylann Roof is first to get death sentence for federal hate crime


Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: A federal jury sentenced Dylann Roof to death for killing nine black worshipers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The white supremacist represented himself, but he presented no case and didn’t ask the jury to spare his life.

Afterward, one man whose sister was killed called the verdict a hollow victory.

MELVIN GRAHAM, Brother of Victim: My sister is still gone. I wish that this verdict could have brought her back, but it can’t. But what it can do is just send a message to those who feel the way he feels that this community will not tolerate it.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Roof is the first person sentenced to die for a federal hate crime. He still faces murder charges in state court.

President Obama is back home tonight in Chicago for his farewell address to the nation. He is expected to reflect on his eight years in office before an audience of thousands of supporters. In a Facebook post today, he previewed his message, saying — quote — “We have reaffirmed the belief that we can make a difference with our own hands, in our own time.”

PBS will have special live coverage of the president’s speech later tonight.

The man in line to be the next secretary of homeland security says building barriers along the Mexican border is not enough. Retired Marine General John F. Kelly had his Senate confirmation hearing today. Among the questions: What about President-elect Trump’s promise to build a border wall?

GEN. JOHN KELLY (RET.), Secretary of Homeland Security Designate: Certainly, as a military person that understands defense and defenses, a physical barrier, in and of itself, will not do the job. It has to be, really, a layered defense.

If you were to build a wall from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico, you would still have to back that wall up with patrolling by human beings, by sensors, by observation devices.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Kelly also said he doesn’t support the idea of a registry for Muslims or for other religious groups.

In Afghanistan, nearly 40 people died today in a pair of bombings that rocked Kabul. The Taliban claimed responsibility. The blasts erupted near the Afghan parliament complex during evening rush hour. In addition to the dead, more than 70 others were wounded.

Thousands of people in Northern California remain under evacuation orders tonight, as heavy rain and snow roll over the region. Even police vehicles got stuck in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where up to 10 feet of snow was falling, and even ski resorts had to shut down.

Elsewhere, flooding in Sonoma County is now the worst in a decade, forcing officials to open a Sacramento dam for the first time since 2005.

Wall Street mostly marked time today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 32 points to close at 19855. The Nasdaq rose 20 points, and the S&P 500 was unchanged.

And the newly crowned champions of college football are back home in Clemson, South Carolina, tonight, after an epic victory over Alabama. The Tigers scored last night with one second left on the clock to win 35 to 31. It was a rematch of last year’s title game, when Alabama won.

The post News Wrap: Dylann Roof is first to get death sentence for federal hate crime appeared first on PBS NewsHour.