Charleston shooting: Dylann Roof's stepmother defends 'smart' boy 'drawn in by internet evil'

Paige Mann claimed that her stepson had only become a recluse in the past few years after he had gone to live with his mother

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The stepmother of Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old charged with nine counts of murder for the shooting at a church in Charleston, has spoken out in his defence.

Paige Mann, who was married to Mr Roof’s father for 10 years and helped raise him, said that her stepson was so smart that he became bored in school and was a germophobe for some time.

“He went to catechism, he went to church,” Ms Mann said. “He was locked in his room looking up bad stuff on the computer.”

In an interview with the New York Daily News, she said: “Something on the computer drew him in – this is Internet evil. We just thought he was a lazy, this-generation kind of kid.”

Mr Roof’s manifesto, published online, shows how the 21-year-old’s views hardened after the shooting of Travyon Martin in Florida in 2012. Ms Paige claimed that it was only after her step-son began living with his mother over the past few years that he became a recluse.

Mr Roof sat with members of the Emanuel African Methodist Epsicopal Church for nearly an hour before he allegedly shot nine of them dead, including the pastor.

Divorce papers filed by Ms Paige in 2008 claim that Franklin Roof had hit her and that any hope Dylann had of a normal home left with her, it was reported by the Inquisitr.

According to the manifesto, which was updated just hours before the fatal attack, he believed that he had no choice but to carry out the attack on the church and “chose Charleston because it is the most historic city in my state”.