Judge sets court date for Charleston church shooting suspect, extends gag order

VIDEO: Alleged gunman in Charleston church shooting appears in court

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A judge has set the date for the trial of the man accused in the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting in Charleston.

Dylann Roof will stand trial beginning on July 11, 2016.

Judge J.C. Nicholson set the date at a hearing Thursday morning during which Roof was presented with the indictments against him, which include nine counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and a weapons charge in the June 17 fatal shooting of nine black parishioners at the church.

Some of the victims' family members sat in the front row inside the courtroom to watch the hearing. It was their first chance to see the accused killer in person.

Roof wore a jail jumpsuit and had the same haircut he did at the time of his arrest. His public defender waived an arraignment on the murder charges and won't seek bond. Roof's next two scheduled court appearances were also waived.

Public defender Ashley Pennington said Roof appears to be competent, is reading, writing and talking.

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said if she seeks the death penalty, that should not delay the trial date.

The judge also extended the gag order in the case until next Wednesday at 5 p.m. to give attorneys, family members and the press a chance to contest the release of 911 calls and documents.

Several media outlets are challenging an order issued last week stopping attorneys from discussing the case and preventing the release of 911 calls, witness statements and coroner reports.

The judge said Roof's right to a fair trial could be in jeopardy because of pretrial publicity.

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