Joey Meek, 22, was the only friend who Dylann Roof shared his racist plot to massacre members at a historic black church. Now, Meek has been sentenced Tuesday (March 17) to more than two years in prison for hampering the investigation and lying to the FBI after the attack.
“I’m really, really sorry. A lot of beautiful lives were taken,” 22-year-old Joey Meek told the court. He started to cry as he continued: “I don’t know if I’ll make it out of prison alive. I’m scared.”
The same judge who presided over Roof’s trial which, ended in January, handed Meek the punishment of 27 months behind bars.
Meek said Roof confided his plans during a night at Meek’s house over some vodka, cocaine, and marijuana while playing video games about a week before the June 17, 2015 killings.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said he hoped the sentence would serve as a lesson for anyone in the future who learns of something so serious and fails to come straight forward to authorities. District Judge added that Meek was fortunate another massacre didn’t occur because of the delay in identifying Roof.
In a deal with prosecutors, Meek pleaded guilty to concealment of a crime and lying to the FBI.
Meek was not charged for failing to tell police about Roof’s plan, because it is not considered a crime under federal law. Instead, he was prosecuted for stopping a friend immediately after the slaughter from calling the police to report Roof as a suspect.
Meek also expressed that he was so scared after finding out about the massacre, he began to wonder if he needed to get a gun to protect himself from Roof.
“Joey sincerely hopes that anyone who has a friend who is talking about hurting someone will take it seriously, learn from his mistake and notify the proper authorities immediately,” his attorney Deborah Barbier said outside court.
None of the victims family spoke at the hearing, the station reported.
Meek sent each victim’s family a handwritten letter of apology, also pointing out qualities he admired about their loved one. He ended each letter the same way: “I ask for your forgiveness, but I don’t expect it.”
Source: Daily News