Published: Fri, December 30, 2016
Hi-Tech | By Merle Christensen

Charleston church shooter to offer no evidence for jury weighing punishment

Charleston church shooter to offer no evidence for jury weighing punishment

The Columbia-area man went before federal judge Richard Gergel on Wednesday morning to hammer out details of the next phase of the trial in preparation for the sentencing phase, which is scheduled to begin on January 3.

Roof was found guilty on all charges connected to the June 2015 shooting that claimed the lives of nine Emmanuel AME Church members as they sat in bible study.

Dylan Roof, 22, also confirmed that he intends to represent himself during the stage in which the jury will decide whether to sentence him to capital punishment or life in prison.

Roof was represented by David Bruck, a famed federal public defender in death penalty cases, after backtracking on his initial plan to represent himself during the guilt phase of his trial.

But he is working to keep secret some of the evidence that prosecutors plan to unveil about Roof and his family.

"Don't do them any favors", Gergel said of the prosectors, according to The Post and Courier.

The Charleston church shooter, 22, was convicted earlier this month for his racially motivated attack on the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the oldest African-American congregations in the southern USA states.

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"I was just saying that for the prosecution", Roof said.

Based on notebooks found in his auto and elsewhere, Roof wrote of being moved by the killing of Trayvon Martin in which he sided with the black teen's killer, George Zimmerman.

His decision faced disagreement from US Judge Richard Gergel, who called on him to discuss the matter with his parents and lawyers first.

Gergel said there was a hearing in which he decided it could be admitted in the penalty phase. On Dec. 16, Roof filed a handwritten note that he would not be offering expert evidence on his mental condition during the sentencing proceedings.

In addition to the federal trial, Roof faces nine murder charges and three attempted murder charges in state court.

"It is a Jewish invention and does nothing but invent diseases and tell people they have problems when they don't", Roof wrote. Roof, the judge and prosecutors tiptoed around describing it during a hearing Wednesday.

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