Political News

The Latest: 7 potential jurors qualified in Roof trial

Posted November 28

Dylann Roof

— The Latest on the trial of Dylann Roof, the white man accused of fatally shooting nine black parishioners at a Charleston, South Carolina, church (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

Seven potential jurors have been qualified in the federal death penalty trial of the white man accused of fatally shooting nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church.

The slow process of juror qualification began Monday in the trial of Dylann Roof on dozens of charges including hate crimes and obstruction of religion.

The court needs 70 qualified jurors before attorneys can begin whittling that number down to 12 jurors and six alternates. Twenty-four more potential jurors will be questioned on Tuesday.

Questioning began Monday moments after U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled Roof can represent himself in his trial in the June 2015 attack at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Gergel said he would reluctantly accept the 22-year-old's "unwise" decision, which also came against his lawyers' advice.

His defense team remains as standby counsel.

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3 p.m.

The white man accused of fatally shooting nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church has spoken up during the qualification of jurors in his federal death penalty trial.

Dylann Roof on Monday said he disagreed with the judge's decision to strike a woman from jury service. Roof said the woman's support of the death penalty for people convicted of multiple murders also likely means she could also "consider everything" in terms of punishment.

Roof on Monday began acting as his own attorney, against his legal team's advice.

Police say Roof hurled racist insults at the six women and three men he's accused of killing and the three people he left alive in the June 2015 attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

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11 a.m.

Three jurors have been qualified so far to sit on the panel that will decide the fate of a man charged with fatally shooting nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church.

The slow process of juror qualification began Monday for the federal trial of Dylann Roof. Potential jurors are called in for one-on-one questioning until a pool of 70 is deemed qualified.

The questioning began moments after U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled Roof can represent himself on hate-crime, obstruction-of-religion and other charges in the June 2015 attack at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Gergel said he would reluctantly accept the 22-year-old's "unwise" decision, which also came against his lawyers' advice.

Sitting in the top defense attorney chair, Roof has had no objections so far to potential jurors. His defense team remains as standby counsel.

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10 a.m.

Potential jurors are being questioned in the federal death penalty trial of a man charged with fatally shooting nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church.

A first panel of eight white women and two white men were called into the courtroom Monday morning for one-on-one questioning by the judge presiding over Dylann Roof's trial.

The questioning came moments after U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled that Roof can represent himself on hate-crime, obstruction-of-religion and other charges. Gergel said he would reluctantly accept the 22-year-old's "unwise" decision, which also came against his lawyers' advice.

Police say Roof hurled racist insults at the six women and three men he's accused of killing and the three people he left alive in the June 2015 attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

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9:40 a.m.

The white man accused of fatally shooting nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church will act as his own attorney in his federal death penalty trial.

Dylann Roof's request Monday came against his lawyers' advice, and U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said he would reluctantly accept the 22-year-old's "unwise" decision.

Noted death penalty attorney David Bruck then slid over and let Roof take the lead chair. The lawyers can stand by and help Roof if he asks.

Police say Roof hurled racist insults at the six women and three men he's accused of killing and the three people he left alive in the June 2015 attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Roof on hate crime, obstruction of religion and other charges.

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3:15 a.m.

Jury selection is resuming anew in the federal case of a white man on trial for fatally shooting nine black parishioners at a Charleston church last year.

Twenty-two-year-old Dylann Roof is charged with counts including hate crimes and obstruction of religion in the Emanuel AME Church shootings. It's the first of two death penalty trials he faces.

The selection process was halted Nov. 7 after Roof's lawyers questioned his ability to understand the case against him. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel's ruling last week cleared the way for Monday's process to begin anew.

Beginning Monday, 516 potential jurors will report to the courthouse to be individually questioned by the judge. When 70 qualified jurors are picked, attorneys can use strikes to dismiss those they don't want.

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