Dylann Roof wrote in a journal that he feels sorry for the "innocent white people" killed by "lesser races."
He said that he feels self-pity — pity that he had to "give up [his] life" for his actions that day in June 2015.
He promised the 12 jurors that his mental health is fine. He admitted that — despite facing the death penalty — he is representing himself because he didn't want a lawyer to try to save him by using his mental health as a defense.
"There is nothing wrong with me psychologically," he assured a South Carolina courtroom Wednesday.
Roof, now 22, was convicted last month of murdering nine black churchgoers during a Bible study in Charleston nearly two years ago.
Despite protestations from his court-appointed lawyers, Roof is representing himself as his sentencing gets underway.
As he spoke to jurors briefly Wednesday morning, the avowed white supremacist didn't address his actions, he didn't comment on the prosecution's opening statement and he didn't apologize; he only promised to tell them the truth.
Federal prosecutors showed the jury Wednesday portions of a journal Roof allegedly kept while he's been in jail. That journal is filled with racist thoughts and notably lacks any sign of remorse.
"I would like to make it crystal clear. I do not regret what I did. I am not sorry. I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed," Roof wrote in the journal, according to the Charleston Post and Courier.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams told the jury that Roof justified his killings in his writings by saying that "African Americans need to pay for what they have done," the Post and Courier reported.
He added that Roof also wrote that he hopes his actions can inspire others to do the same.
"I did all I could do, now it is in the hands of my brothers," Roof wrote, according to Williams.
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church member Jennifer Pinckney, who hid beneath a desk with her daughter when Roof began his killing spree, told her story to jurors Wednesday. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, her husband, was killed in the shooting.
"God is a just God, and I couldn't see God taking both parents away from two small kids," Jennifer Pinckney said Wednesday, according to the Post and Courier.
Roof is also expected to be charged on state murder charges, which also carry the death penalty.