A federal judge has delayed the trial for a white man accused of shooting nine black people at a Charleston church earlier this year.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel agreed to push back the trial to no later than January to give both defense attorneys and federal prosecutors respective time to prepare, NBC News reports.
The Justice Department released a statement, stating, “Meek is alleged to have taken steps to hide his knowledge of the crimes committed by Dylann Storm Roof, and to have made materially false statements when Meek told a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he did not know specifics of Roof’s plan to shoot individuals on a Wednesday, during Bible Study, at an AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, prior to Roof’s attack on June 17, 2015”.
It remains unclear, however, when U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will make that call, Assistant U.S. Attorney Julius Richardson said, adding that it “requires input from an array of people”.
Roof faces additional counts in state court, including nine murder charges.
Officials emphasized the investigation was being conducted as a homicide probe, though detectives weren’t ruling an…
When Roof was arraigned in federal court on 33 charges in late July, Bruck said his client wanted to plead guilty but that he could not counsel him to do so without knowing the government’s intentions on the death penalty. A motion for continuance filed by attorneys was granted in a Bar Meeting Thursday.
Attorneys will meet in Charleston on Thursday, but Roof has waived his right to appear. Federal law dictates a trial must be held within 70 days of indictment, unless a guilty plea is given.
Twenty-one-year-old Dylann Roof faces dozens of federal charges stemming from the June 17 shootings at Emanuel AME Church.
In a July 31 arraignment in Charleston before a federal magistrate judge, Bruck told federal magistrate judge Bristow Marchant that Roof wants to plead guilty, avoid a trial and get a life sentence. Usually such meetings deal with scheduling and evidence.
Online records show three sealed orders in the case have been issued. Jury selection had been scheduled to start in November. On September 3, 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson announced she is seeking the death penalty.