CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The judge in the federal trial of accused Mother Emanuel AME church shooter Dylann Roof says jury selection will resume Wednesday at 9 a.m.
Roof, 22, is charged with killing nine members of Mother Emanuel AME Church, including its pastor, State Sen. and the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, on June 17, 2015.
The process of selecting jurors, known as voir dire, ended almost as quickly as it began Monday when Judge Richard Gergel said a last-minute motion required his immediate attention and then scheduled an 11 a.m. motion hearing involving only Roof and the defense counsel.
The government and the public were not allowed to attend the hearing. The government did not object to the hearing being held behind closed doors.
Gergel heard objections from attorneys for news media outlets who argued it was in the public's interest to keep the 11 a.m. hearing open. The judge said he might release a redacted transcript in the future but later decided no transcripts or further comment on the closed-door meeting would be provided.
"The closing of the hearing is necessary to protect the attorney-client privilege and the defendant's right to a fair and impartial jury and a fair trial," Gergel said. "I fully recognize that this notice provided is short, but under the circumstances, it is necessary for the court to proceed with the hearing immediately."
Nothing more is known about the schedule for jury qualification going forward.
The court will not convene on Election Day.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced 33 federal charges on July 22, 2015.
Roof faces nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which prohibits using a dangerous weapon to cause bodily injury or attempting to do so based on race or color.
He is also charged with nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder under a second federal hate crime statute that prohibits the use or threat of force to obstruct any person's free exercise of their religious beliefs.
The remaining nine counts are charges of the use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence, the federal indictment states.
More than 500 potential jurors remain from a pool of approximately 3,000 summoned earlier this year. The jurors will begin reporting to the Charleston Federal Courthouse on Monday in groups of 20 for individual questioning.
Roof also faces another 13 state charges: nine charges of murder, three charges of attempted murder and a weapons charge. The state trial is scheduled to begin in January.
In addition to Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Reverend Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Tywanza Sanders, DePayne Middleton Doctor, Ethel Lance, the Reverend Daniel Simmons, Susie Jackson and Myra Thompson were also shot to death during a Bible study in the church's basement that night.
Authorities released surveillance images and a description of the suspected gunman's vehicle. Roof was captured in North Carolina the day after the attack and returned to South Carolina. Law enforcement officials said he admitted to the killings shortly after his arrest.