A South Carolina judge has ruled that Charleston Church murderer Dylann Roof is competent enough to face trial and potentially the death penalty.
Roof has been sitting in jail since June 2015 when he was arrested for killing nine church goers at Emanuel AME Church, leaving three others alive to go tell others what he did.
His federal murder trial was set to begin two weeks ago but was delayed when questions about his mental state arose. Roof’s lawyers said they questioned Roof’s ability to communicate with them and insisted that he may suffer from a mental illness.
If you’re wondering how this could go to trial, it’s because Roof never formally admitted to committing the crime in court. Roof and his lawyers did not want to plead guilty unless prosecutors promised not to seek the death penalty, that deal was never made.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel granted the Roof defense team’s request for a psychiatric evaluation, displeasing family members of the victims. After a two-week process, the judge has now decided that Roof is mentally competent enough to face trial for the murders.
Jury selection is scheduled to start Nov. 28.
Roof has already been found guilty in the court of public opinion, but America has proven how trials can even let the most guilty of killers off the hook. Just last week killer cop Ray Tensing’s trial ended in a mistrial even though there was video evidence of him killing unarmed driver Sam DuBose. He is being tried again in court though.
In Roof’s case, the jury has not been selected yet, but whose to say that potential jurors minds can’t be swayed from just the mere mention that Roof may or may not have a mental illness.
Even if he does find a way to wiggle out of this, state prosecutors have stated that they will seek the death penalty for Roof after the federal trial is done.