In Secretive Decision, Dylann Roof Found Competent
Jury selection will restart Monday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 25, 2016 9:33 AM CST
Shrink
This June 18, 2015, file photo, provided by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office shows Dylann Roof.   (Charleston County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

(Newser) – Dylann Roof is competent to stand trial starting next week in the killing of nine black worshippers at a South Carolina church last year, a federal judge ruled Friday. US District Judge Richard Gergel's ruling clears the way for jury selection to restart Monday. The judge delayed the process to begin narrowing the final jury pool on Nov. 7 when Roof's lawyers suggested he either didn't understand the charges against him or couldn't properly help them with his defense. Roof, 22, is charged in federal court with hate crime, obstruction of religion, and other counts for the June 2015 attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

The decision came three days after Gergel wrapped up a hastily called two-day hearing that was held behind closed doors. But the exact reasons and any testimony and facts backing Gergel's findings are not known, reports the AP. Defense lawyers have not said what led them to question Roof's competency and the judge sealed his findings for the same reason he took the rare step of only allowing Roof, his lawyers, prosecutors, court officials, and witnesses in the hearing—Roof made statements to a psychologist that might not be legal to use at his trial and could taint potential jurors. Roof has already been found competent in state court, where prosecutors plan a second death penalty trial on nine counts of murder.
 

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |  
4%
13%
20%
47%
7%
7%