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Judge to allow Roof to represent himself during penalty phase of - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Judge to allow Roof to represent himself during penalty phase of church shooting trial

Dylann Roof  (Source: Live 5) Dylann Roof (Source: Live 5)
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

The man accused of killing nine parishioners of a Charleston church will be allowed to represent himself during the penalty phase of his federal trial.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel signed an order filed Friday stating Dylann Roof, who was convicted Thursday of 33 federal charges will be allowed to represent himself during the penalty phase of his trial.

Roof was convicted in the June 17, 2015, shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church that killed nine people including the church's pastor, State Sen. and the Rev. Clementa Pinckney.

Jurors took less than two hours to convict Roof of hate crimes, obstruction of religion and weapons charges.

Gergel said he conferred with Roof immediately following the jury's verdict to confirm that Roof still wished to represent himself.

"I informed him that he had a constitutional right to counsel and a constitutional right to self-representation, but not a right to both," Gergel wrote in the order.

Gergel said he informed Roof standby counsel would be "primarily consultative in nature" and that Roof would be forced to appear before the jury, question witnesses and represent himself in court if he represented himself. Gergel stated he also told Roof counsel would not be allowed to file anything on his behalf without Roof himself first requesting it and obtaining authorization from the court.

Roof told the judge he had "carefully weighed" advice from his defense team and his family before coming to the decision that he still wanted to represent himself, the order states.

Roof faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole in the killings when the jury reconvenes after the holidays.

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