An appeals court in the US has upheld the death sentence given to a white supremacist who killed nine black people at a South Carolina church.
Dylann Roof targeted a Bible study group in 2015, and told a jury before being convicted two years later: “I felt like I had to do it.”
Upholding the sentence, the appeals judge said the crimes “qualify him for the harshest penalty that a just society can impose”.
Roof remains on death row in Indiana.
Last month, US Attorney-General Merrick Garland halted federal executions pending a review by the justice department, following the Trump administration’s prolific use of capital punishment.
The 2015 massacre shocked the nation and reignited a debate about race relations and the flying of the Confederate flag.
Roof told police he wanted to start a race war and he was photographed holding the battle flag, which to many is a symbol of racism.
The tragedy led to the flag being removed from the South Carolina statehouse, where it had flown for 50 years.