CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A judge in the federal death penalty trial of accused Emanuel AME shooter says he plans on bringing in more potential jurors Wednesday.
Dylann Roof is the 22-year-old Eastover man is charged with opening fire on a group of black parishioners at Mother Emanuel AME Church in June 2015, killing nine. Authorities say the shooting was racially motivated.
Judge Richard Gergel said he is pleased with how fast jury selection is going and said he will bring in a total of 28 potential jurors during Wednesday's sessions. That means there will be 13 in the first session and 15 in the second.
A total of 20 people from both jury panels Tuesday were qualified for the jury pool. Of those, 13 are women and seven are men. Three of the women are non-white.
Roof was forced to be slightly more vocal than on Monday after Gergel told him he cannot rely on his former lead attorney.
During a motion hearing Tuesday morning, Gergel told attorney David Bruck he cannot co-council Roof since Roof made the decision, against the advice of Gergel, to represent himself.
After the hearing, Roof took extra time to ask questions and make decisions about whether to raise objections against prospective jurors.
The goal is to create a jury pool of 70 potential jurors from which a jury of 12 plus six alternates will be chosen. At the current rate, that could happen by the end of the week.
Roof appeared again in his jail jumpsuit Tuesday morning.
Panels of potential jurors will be brought in daily as the court tries to whittle 512 down to 70, and then to a jury of 12 with six alternates.
There were more than a dozen family members, including two survivors, in the courtroom just feet away from Roof Monday. They were quiet and intent on the proceedings, with one of them holding a bible.