Trial of South Carolina Shooter Dylann Roof Delayed for Competency Evaluation
Dylann Roof allegedly fatally shot nine people in 2015
Jury selection for the death penalty trial of alleged South Carolina church shooter Dylann Roof was scheduled to begin today, but a judge postponed it so Roof can receive a competency evaluation, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.
“An issue has arisen concerning the Defendant’s competency to stand trial,” according to a court order filed late Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel. “Federal law requires the Court to order a competency evaluation of Defendant and to conduct a hearing on the matter.”
Roof allegedly sat alongside his victims for about one hour during a Bible study class inside the Emanuel AME Church before opening fire on the parishioners, authorities have said.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
His competency hearing is scheduled for Nov. 16 and Gergel is expected to make a decision on or before Nov. 18, according to documents. For now, the jury selection has been suspended.
Previously, he agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence instead of the death penalty, but prosecutors denied the request. His lawyers challenged the death penalty, calling it unconstitutional, but a judge denied the challenge, according to court records.