Judge rules accused Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof is competent to stand trial

Dylann Roof

Dylann Roof

Dylann Roof is competent to stand trial, a federal judge ruled Friday.

In his order, U.S. District Judge Richard Mark Gergel said he was sealing a document detailing the factual reasons behind his finding. Public disclosure could put Roof’s right to a fair trial in jeopardy, he said.

Roof is accused of killing nine people at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015.

The judge halted jury selection in the case earlier this month so Roof could undergo a competency evaluation.

A psychiatrist examined Roof earlier this month, and witnesses testified about the matter in a hearing this week.

Jury selection in the federal trial is scheduled to resume on Monday, Gergel said.

Roof faces 33 federal charges: nine counts of violating the Hate Crime Act resulting in death; three counts of violating the Hate Crime Act involving an attempt to kill; nine counts of obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death; three counts of obstruction of exercise of religion involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon; nine counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence.

If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Roof also faces nine counts of murder and other charges in the state court system. His trial in that case is scheduled to start in January.

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