A federal judge on Monday granted Dylann Roof’s motion to represent himself in his own murder trial where he is accused of killing nine Black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. He will also be allowed to reject potential jurors if he believes they are not fit to serve on the jury.
According to CNN, jury selection had been under way when US District Judge Richard Mark Gergel stopped the process to allow Roof to undergo a competency evaluation. The motion to defend himself was granted soon it as ruled that the 22-year-old white supremacist was competent to stand trial.
Jury selection continued on Monday that consisted of 20 jurors were questioned with seven being deemed qualified and 13 jurors excused. The court will continue questioning jurors until 70 qualified jurors are identified, CNN noted.
Questions asked to potential jurors included:
If Roof’s race played a factor in their ability to render a fair decision.
Should a person should face the death penalty for taking another life. (The judge eliminated one juror who answered the question by saying the punishment should fit the crime.)
Meanwhile one juror wrote in a questionnaire that she was sickened by the thought of someone killing people in a church. And another was struck for saying being Catholic it would be hard impose capital punishment on any defendant.
Twitter definitely had an opinion about Roof representing himself in court:
#DylannRoof is a terrorist. The vicious slaughter in #Charleston was an act of Domestic Terrorism & should be charged/tried as such.
Roof faces 33 federal charges which include: Nine counts of violating the Hate Crime Act; 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; and nine counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence, CNN reported. If convicted, Roof faces the death penalty.
In addition, Roof also faces nine counts of murder and other charges in a S.C. court.
As we previously reported, in June 2015, Roof walked into Emanuel AME Church during a nighttime Bible Study and an hour later he allegedly opened fire and shot and killed nine parishioners in the church’s basement. According to the survivors, Roof told them, he wanted to start a race war.