Dylann Roof, Man Accused In Charleston Church Killings, Can Represent Himself In Trial
Dylann Roof is accused of walking into a Charleston, South Carolina, church on June 17, 2015 and killing nine black parishioners. With the trial underway, Roof faces a possible death penalty if convicted. Roof has decided to represent himself during the case.
DYLANN ROOF WILL REPRESENT HIMSELF
The 22-year-old defendant requested to act as his own lawyer, against the advice of his then-lawyer David Bruck and of U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel. Attorneys will be available to Roof if he asks for their help during the trial.
This news comes the same day the jury selection process resumed. It had been paused on Nov. 7 when Roof’s lawyers suggested that he was not fit to understand his crimes nor his charges. A court had previously determined Roof to be mentally competent to testify in state court. Roof is being charged with multiple counts including hate crimes, obstruction of religion, and of course nine counts of murder.
The jury selection process was continued Monday, calling on 516 potential jurors, which will then be narrowed down to 70, and will be again cut to 12 based on attorney strikes.
Judge Gergel has kept Roof’s statements from his psychological profile and hearing closed to the public. While the families of the victims are not happy with the secrecy, Gergel maintains that it is the only way to assure a fair trial for Roof. Any leaked statements could sway a potential juror.