Suspected Charleston shooter Dylann Roof reportedly will represent himself in court

Dylann Roof (R), the 21-year-old man charged with murdering nine worshippers at a historic black church in Charleston last month, listens to the proceedings with assistant defense attorney William Maguire during a hearing at the Judicial Center in Charleston, South Carolina July 16, 2015. REUTERS/Randall Hill Thomson Reuters

The man accused of fatally shooting nine African-American people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015 will be allowed to represent himself in court, CNN’s South Carolina affiliates reported on Monday.

Dylann Roof, 22, was deemed mentally competent to stand trial for hate crimes in South Carolina, US District Judge Richard Gergel ruled last week.

The test for competency is whether the defendant “has a sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding” and “has a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him,” according to Gergel’s ruling.

Roof, who faces 33 federal charges and the death penalty, was an avowed racist at the time of the attack. A disturbing website registered to Roof – with a racist manifesto and dozens of photos of his posing with guns and the Confederate battle flag – was found shortly after the massacre occurred.

Jury selection for Roof’s trial was delayed after his defense attorneys called for a competency test. It will resume Monday.¬†Since Roof is representing himself, he is allowed to reject prospective jurors he thinks won’t give him a fair trial.

The police have said Roof sat with the Wednesday-night bible study group for at least an hour debating whether to shoot “because everyone was so nice to him,” NBC reported last year.

He reportedly confessed to law-enforcement officials shortly after he was arrested that he ultimately decided he “had to go through with his mission.”

NOW WATCH: A model that has correctly predicted the presidential election since 1980 says Clinton will have a landslide victory


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s