Charleston church shooting trial set to begin next week

Charleston church shooting trial set to begin next week

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The long-awaited federal death penalty trial of the white man charged with the shooting deaths of nine black parishioners at a SC church is scheduled to get underway next week with the final seating of a jury. There was plenty of public outrage, but it was directed at Roof, who exuded a creepy vibe from his first moments in custody. He is representing himself in his federal trial.

Now, a trial finally looms.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel, however, has blocked Bruck from speaking on Roof's behalf, ruling that the self-avowed white supremacist's decision to serve as his own attorney limited his former legal team to providing advice.

The judge expects to get to the pool of 70 jurors by the end of the day on Friday, if this does happen there will be a pre-trial hearing Monday, a break Tuesday and those potential jurors will come on Wednesday.

Dylann Storm Roof, 22, is charged in the June 17, 2015 Emanuel AME Church shooting that claimed the lived of nine parishioners after a Bible study.

Lawyers have also sought permission to explain to the court and prosecutors objections made by Roof in the juror qualification process, which is ongoing this week. In a motion filed Thursday, those attorneys argue the court is hampering Roof's defense by not allowing them to play a larger role.

"It should be apparent to everyone observing these one-sided proceedings that despite the defendant's best efforts, there is much being left unaddressed as jury selection proceeds", the motion states.

"Defendant's decision to forego (sic) the services of the nation's foremost capital defense attorneys is, in the Court's view, unwise, but the law does not permit the Court to reject Defendant's assertion of his constitutional right to represent himself because it is foolhardy", the judge wrote.

Final jury selection and opening statements in the hate crimes trial are scheduled to begin on Wednesday. The defense and prosecutors each can object to 20 jurors without giving a reason.