CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The latest on trial of a man accused in the shooting deaths of nine black churchgoers.
Jury selection stopped before it started in the federal case of a white man on trial for the fatal shooting of nine black members of a Charleston, South Carolina, church.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel opened what was supposed to be the start of jury selection in Dylann Roof’s trial Monday by saying he had received a request from defense lawyers that demanded his immediate attention.
Gergel set the hearing for 11 a.m. Monday behind closed doors and said prosecutors would not be allowed in the hearing. The judge said anyone who objected to the closed door hearing had until 10 a.m. to make that argument.
Gergel said the hearing had to do with attorney-client privilege to protect Roof’s rights to a fair and impartial trial.
Jury selection will resume Wednesday.
Jury selection is resuming in the federal case a white man on trial for fatally shooting nine black parishioners during a Bible study at a Charleston church last year.
Twenty-two-year-old Dylann Roof is charged with hate crimes, obstruction of religion and other counts in the shootings at Emanuel AME Church. It’s the first of two death penalty trials Roof faces stemming from the shootings.
Beginning Monday, 516 potential jurors will report back to the courthouse to be individually questioned by the judge. When 70 qualified jurors are picked, attorneys will be able to use strikes to dismiss those they don’t want.
Twelve jurors and six alternates will eventually be seated. The process could take several weeks. Court officials say opening statements may not begin until after Thanksgiving.