Dylann Roof: Witness Called Me 'Evil,' I Want Mistrial

Judge denies the motion
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2016 10:01 AM CST
Dylann Roof: Witness Called Me 'Evil,' I Want Mistrial
In this June 18, 2016, file photo, Dylann Roof is escorted from the Shelby Police Department in Shelby, NC.   (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

Dylann Roof's defense team started the second day of his trial by asking for a mistrial, a request the judge promptly denied. A survivor of the 2015 church massacre in Charleston, SC, testified on the first day of the trial about watching her son die and, during her testimony, referred to Roof as "evil" and said he belongs in the "pit of hell." The defense team argued those remarks were inappropriate, the AP reports. But the judge ruled the comments were not unduly prejudicial, the Post and Courier reports.

The defense team argued that the testimony seemed to suggest a sentence for Roof before guilt had been established, so the judge said that while he would not strike the testimony from the record, he would "instruct the jury that the sentencing decision is always theirs and not the responsibility of any of the parties or any of the witnesses." The defense team also revealed that after Wednesday's opening statements, Roof's mother was taken to the hospital and treated for a heart attack. (More Dylann Roof stories.)

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