The friend and confidant of racist mass murderer Dylann Roof has been sentenced to jail for lying to the F.B.I. and attempting to hinder the investigation. Joseph C. Meek Jr., 22, was sentenced Tuesday to 27 months in prison for hampering and misleading the federal authorities in the aftermath of Mr. Roof’s massacre, according to The New York Times. A week before he killed nine black parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Roof laid out his entire plan to Meek, who later told friends not to contact police as news of the horrific slayings spread.
Meek and Roof had reconnected on Facebook after attending middle school together in Columbia, S.C. Over vodka, marijuana and cocaine, one night in early June 2015, Roof told Meek of his intention to start a race war by killing parishioners at a historic black church, which he had been planning for six months. Meek did not take the threat seriously, nor did he report it to authorities. Following Roof’s attack on the church a week later on June 17, 2015, Meek discussed the incident with Dalton Tyler, another friend or Roof’s. Though Meek told him not to contact authorities, Tyler eventually tipped police off to Roof’s identity after seeing him on security camera footage of the killing, which led to his arrest.
Mr. Meek initially told agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he had no prior knowledge of Roof’s murderous plans, but revealed details about their night together at a subsequent interview, where he also admitted to telling friends not to talk to the police. Meek pleaded guilty last year to misprision of a felony - which is the concealment of knowledge of a crime after it occurs, and of making a false statement to a law enforcement officer. He agreed to cooperate with investigators in Roof’s trial, though he was never called as a witness.
Charleston CBS affiliate WCSC reports that at his sentencing, a remorseful and soft-spoken Meek said "I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart. I really wish I would have called the cops." Meek has said he is still haunted by the killings, which keep him up at night, and that he has personally written apology letters to the families of Roof’s murder victims. Speaking of his upcoming prison sentence, he added "I don't know if I will make it out of prison alive, I'm scared."
[Photo: WCSC Charleston]