Friend of accused church shooter could face 8 years in prison after guilty pleas

VIDEO: New details emerge as friend of accused church shooter enters guilty plea
Joey Meek (Source: WIS)
Joey Meek (Source: WIS)
Dylann Roof (Source: Charleston County Police)
Dylann Roof (Source: Charleston County Police)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A federal judge accepted a guilty plea from the friend of the accused Charleston church shooter.

Joey Meek pleaded guilty in court Friday afternoon to lying to the FBI about what he knew of accused Emanuel AME Church shooter Dylann Roof's plans.

Investigators say Meek and Dylann Roof, who is facing multiple charges in the June 17 shooting at the downtown Charleston church, had been hanging out together days before the shooting.

According to prosecutors, a week before the church shootings, Roof told Meek he planned for six months to kill people at an AME church in Charleston to start a race war because no one else would.

Prosecutors also said Roof told Meek he planned to kill himself after carrying out the killings.

Prosecutors say Meek told some friends about Roof's alleged plot and told them not to report it to authorities. Prosecutors say when one of those friends called the FBI tip line, Meek then told the FBI what he knew.

With the judge accepting the guilty pleas, Meek will be charged with making false statements to federal officials and concealing knowledge about the shooting, according to court records.

The crimes carry a punishment of up to eight years in prison, but sentencing date has been set. Meek remains out of jail on bond and is now allowed to contact his brothers, something he was not allowed to do before Friday's hearing.

"The message Mr. Meek has for the families today is that he's truly sorry for his actions," Meek's attorney, Deborah Barbier, said after the hearing. "He's asked God for his forgiveness. He would like nothing better for the families to forgive him, but he certainly does not expect that forgiveness."

Meek could serve as a witness in the state and federal prosecutions against Roof, and federal prosecutors could ask for a reduced sentence based on Meek's cooperation.

Roof is currently being held behind bars at the Charleston County Detention Center.

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