After hearing testimony from psychologists and witnesses, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel decided Dylann Roof was competent to stand trial starting next week for the 2015 murder of nine parishioners at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Talking Points Memo reports that Judge Gergel sealed his findings that lead to his decision, after only allowing Roof, the case’s lawyers and other necessary court officials into the hearing. Supposedly some of Roof’s statements to a psychologist could taint potential jurors in the case.
The Associated Press reports that Roof has also been granted permission to represent himself in the trial, against his lawyer’s advice. Judge Gergel accepted Roof’s choice, calling it “unwise.” Attorney David Bruck and others will be standing by to assist Roof should he request it.
Jury selection was renewed Monday with Judge Gergel’s ruling, after being halted on November 7 when the defense questioned Roof’s ability to understand the federal charges against him. He is currently facing two death penalty trials, and charges for committing a hate crime and obstruction of religion.