Dylann Roof competency hearing will determine if trial can continue

Dylann Storm Roof
(Photo/Chuck Burton)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A closed hearing on the competency of Dylann Roof to stand trial in the killing of nine black worshipers at a Charleston, South Carolina, church is planned in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel recently ruled that Monday’s scheduled hearing would remain closed despite pleas from family members of the slain and arguments from the media that it should be open.

Gergel says he’s concerned anything said at the hearing could be seen by potential jurors and taint their view of the defendant. The hearing’s expected to include extensive statements made by Roof that might not be allowed at his death penalty trial.

Gergel says he’ll issue a ruling on whether the trial can continue later this week in connection with the June 2015 attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

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