November Trial Date Set for Charleston AME Church Shooter

A federal judge said Tuesday jurors will be picked this fall in the trial of a white man accused of killing nine members of a historic black Charleston, South Carolina, church. 

Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel on Tuesday set Nov. 7 as the day to begin selecting jurors for the federal trial of Dylann Roof. His trial could start about two weeks later.

Roof faces numerous federal counts, including hate crimes, in the June 17 shootings at Emanuel AME Church. He attended Tuesday’s hearing.

Defense attorneys and federal prosecutors said they felt they had enough time to prepare their case. The trial is estimated to last up to six weeks.

Roof’s state trial on murder charges is scheduled for January. Prosecutors in both jurisdictions are seeking the death penalty.

State prosecutor Scarlett Wilson has said previously that while not all the families of the nine people killed want her to seek the death penalty, the state will argue that Roof be put to death if he is convicted in a state trial set for next year.

Wilson called Roof’s actions “the ultimate crime that deserved the ultimate punishment.” She said that she understands the desire of some victims’ families to forgive Roof but that it doesn’t eliminate the consequences of Roof’s actions.

Gergel also is hearing a second case stemming from the church shootings: that of Roof’s friend, 21-year-old Joey Meek.

Meek has pleaded not guilty to lying to law enforcement agents and failing to report what he knew about Roof’s intentions.

According to an indictment, Meek knew Roof planned to shoot black church members during Bible study but didn’t report it and lied to authorities. A hearing is set next week on Meek’s request to have his bond reduced.

Source: CBS / The AP