Judge denies mistrial motion after church shooting survivor calls suspect 'evil'

Judge denies mistrial motion after church shooting survivor calls suspect 'evil'

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A federal judge in the trial of the man charged with hate crimes in the deaths of nine people at Emanuel AME Church denied a motion for mistrial Thursday morning.

In a court document filed earlier Thursday, representatives for Dylann Roof argued that a survivor's testimony was grounds for a mistrial because she characterized Dylann Roof, 22, as evil.

LIVE BLOG: Dylann Roof trial

"He's evil. There's no place on earth for him except the pit of hell," Felicia Sanders said in court Wednesday, according to the motion. The attorneys argued that statements like that do not belong in the courtroom.

The attorneys argued that they couldn't object at the time the statement was made because they would have appeared insensitive to her "obvious and understandable stress," but the U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said they still should have responded in a timely manner.

According to the motion, the witness was crying so hard that the government was compelled to request a recess. A footnote in the motion says Roof's mother was admitted to an area hospital with a heart attack after opening statements.

The judge took up the issue as soon as the second day of court began Thursday.

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