Judge sets Nov. trial for Charleston church shooting suspect's federal trial

Federal trial for Dylann Roof set for November

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC/AP) - A judge has set a November date for the federal trial of the man charged in the shooting deaths of nine black parishioners at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel held a hearing Tuesday in the case of Dylann Roof, who faces numerous federal counts, including hate crimes.

Gergel set Nov. 7, 2016 for Roof's federal trial.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch had announced last month that prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Roof.

Attorneys and prosecutors estimate that that the first phase of the trial will each take two to three weeks to complete, and two more weeks for the penalty phase.

According to Gergel, jury qualification will begin on Nov. 7, and there could be 1,200 to 1,500 prospective jurors.

Roof's attorney, David Bruck, said he may ask the judge to have jurors picked from the Charleston area and not statewide; Bruck said he will consult with Roof on the issue.

If the date holds true, Roof's jury will be selected at the same time as former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager's trial begins.

Slager's murder trial is scheduled for Oct. 31 for the shooting death of Walter Scott.

Roof also faces nine murder counts in state court, where prosecutors are also seeking the death penalty in a trial set to begin in January.

In that trial, jury selection is scheduled for Dec. 6.

Solicitor Scarlett Wilson who will prosecute the state trial said on Monday that she will be ready.

"The most important thing is bringing justice to the families in the case as efficiently and as quickly as possible," Wilson said.

Attorney Andy Savage, who is representing the shooting survivors and the victims' families said,"I think the families are satisfied to know there's no daylight between what the judge decided today and the wishes of the family."

The anniversary of the shooting at the church often called Mother Emanuel is next week.

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