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Charleston Church Shooter Found Competent for Trial
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Dylann Roof

Summary: The Charleston church shooter, Dylann Roof, was found competent to undergo trial after a motion by his attorney was filed a few weeks ago.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel has declared Dylann Roof to be competent to stand for trial for the murders of nine people last summer. Two days of closed-door hearings were held with Roof present. Gergel issued the three-page decision but kept his findings and conclusions of law sealed.


Gergel decided to keep part of the order sealed because he believed “the public disclosure of that document at this time would prejudice defendant’s rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and place in jeopardy the Defendant’s right to select a fair and impartial jury and to a fair trial.”

Jury selection will continue Monday after putting it on hold to hold the competency hearing last week to be closed in fear that an open court would threaten Roof’s right to a fair trial. Jury selection began on November 7.

Prosecutors want the death penalty for Roof, who faces 33 federal charges for killing nine African-Americans at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME Church last June.

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Gergel explained in his order that a defendant cannot stand trial “only if the Court finds ‘that the defendant is presently suffering from a mental disease or defect’ that renders him ‘unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense.” If Gergel had found Roof not to be competent for trial, he would have been placed in federal custody until such a time that he was competent.

Why do you think Gergel was unwilling to open up the competency hearing? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about the shooting, read these articles:




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