Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof Reuters

White supremacist Dylann Roof, who was convicted of the massacre of nine people at a South Carolina church, tried to assure jurors on Wednesday that "there is nothing wrong with me psychologically", NBC News reports.

Roof said that was his motivation for mounting his own defense in the penalty phase of his trial.

"I chose to represent myself to prevent my lawyers from presenting mental health evaluation," Roof, 22, told the federal jury that convicted him last month and now is considering whether to send him to death row.

"That's true, but it isn't because I have a mental illness that I don't want you to know about. It isn't because I'm trying to keep a secret," he added, according to NBC News.

The statement was the first time Roof had commented while on trial for the June 17, 2015 massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Roof confessed to the killings in a videotaped interview with federal agents, but later pleaded not guilty in court.

After his arrest, Roof reportedly told police that he had opened fire with his .45-caliber pistol in order to start a "race war".

Roof said last month that he “will not be calling mental health experts or presenting mental health evidence.”

While he did not specify the reason, his journal which was introduced as evidence during the trial, says he considers psychology a “Jewish invention.”