Federal judge allows accused church shooter Dylann Roof to represent himself
Dylann Roof. Photo from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.
A federal judge on Monday ruled that accused church shooter Dylann Roof may represent himself at his hate crimes trial.
Roof’s lawyer, David Bruck, will serve as stand-by counsel. Gergel ruled after finding last week that Roof, 22, was competent to stand trial.
Roof, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, is accused of shooting and killing nine black worshipers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Roof is also facing nine counts of murder in a state death-penalty case.
Roof had offered to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life in prison, but federal prosecutors rejected the offer.
Gergel did not allow reporters to attend Roof’s competency hearing and did not release a transcript of the proceeding. Gergel’s competency order did not state the reasons for the judge’s decision. Gergel said he closed the hearing because Roof had made statements to a psychologist that could taint the jury pool.
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