CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union is calling for the justice department to accept a guilty plea from the Charleston church shooting suspect and allow a life sentence with no parole.
Jeffery Robinson issued a statement Wednesday after the trial of Dylann Roof was suspended pending a competency evaluation for Roof:
With the interruption of the proceedings in Dylann Roof's trial for a determination of his mental competency, the Department of Justice should accept his guilty plea and allow him to be sentenced to life without parole. If the Department continues its pursuit of the death penalty, we will not see an end to Roof's case, not for months or even years. And if a conviction and sentence come at last, they won't be final, giving way to appeals for the forseeable future. The families of the victims and the rest of the community will remain in limbo for all of that time, keeping Roof and his deeds front and center on our screens and in our minds without closure. For what? For the notion that killing him will somehow show that we as a community are less racist and more just. The Department of Justice should let the guilty plead guilty and send Dylann Roof to prison for life – no appeals, no attention, just a long time to contemplate the horror that he caused.
Jury selection was to have begun on Monday morning, but Judge Richard Gergel immediately halted the process, saying a last-minute motion required his immediate attention. Later that morning Gergel held a closed-door meeting with Roof and his defense attorneys on the motion.
The court initially indicated jury selection would resume on Wednesday morning, then issued an order Tuesday afternoon stating jury selection would be suspended until Nov. 21. In the meantime, Roof would undergo a competency evaluation with the results of that test expected to be sent to the court by Monday.
Gergel plans to convene a hearing on Nov. 16 to review the findings of the evaluation and issue a ruling by Nov. 18.
Roof is accused of killing nine parishioners of Mother Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015 during a Bible study.