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Judge agrees to delay start of state trial against accused Charleston church shooter

Dylann Roof appeared in court in July, 2015 in connection with the shooting at the Mother Emanuel AME Church. (Source: Live 5) Dylann Roof appeared in court in July, 2015 in connection with the shooting at the Mother Emanuel AME Church. (Source: Live 5)
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

A judge shut down a prosecutor's request Wednesday to move the state trial for the man charged with killing nine members of a Charleston church ahead of a federal trial, but then agreed to delay the state trial.

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson says she had several reasons for asking for the rescheduling of the state trial for Dylann Roof, accused in the June 17, 2015 shootings at Mother Emanuel AME Church.

But Judge J.C. Nicholson told Wilson he did not have the power to overstep the federal court's decision, telling her to "walk across the street" and take it up with them.

Wilson said she was confident the federal court would not side with her in allowing the state trial, which is currently scheduled to begin in January, to move ahead of the federal trial, which is set to begin in November. She then requested that if the state trial could not be moved forward, that it be moved back.

The judge did not set a specific scheduling motion, but agreed to tentatively push the trial back so that jury selection does not begin until Jan. 17.

Jury selection was originally scheduled to begin in December so that the trial could begin on Jan. 17.

But Nicholson cautioned that could change if the federal trial against Roof goes longer than expected.

Wilson argued the state case should go ahead of the federal case because it is deeply personal to Charleston County. She also feared that if the federal trial goes first, there will be less of a chance Roof would receive a death penalty sentence if he is convicted because in the past federal cases tend to not lean in that direction. 

Roof is currently being held in the Charleston County Jail. He faces the death penalty in both the federal and state trials.

Roof was not present in court Wednesday.

Copyright 2016 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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