Federal attorneys remain undecided on death penalty for Roof

Both sides prepared to begin trial of Joey Meek

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SAM SPENCE
  • Sam Spence
The attorney general’s office has yet to reach a decision regarding whether or not prosecutors will seek the death penalty in the case of Dylann Roof. Attorneys appeared before U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel Tuesday morning to discuss the case which is still without a trial date. Federal prosecutors were unable to give an estimate as to when the government will reach a decision.

Roof faces a 33-count federal indictment stemming from the June 17 shooting at Mother Emanuel Church in downtown Charleston that ended in the deaths of nine parishioners. This includes three charges of attempted murder, as well as charges for hate crimes and firearms offenses. His attorney, David Bruck said that his client is prepared to plead guilty if federal prosecutors do not seek the death penalty, but the defense described themselves as being in a rather powerless position until that decision is made.

Judge Gergel made it clear that he is losing his patience with the attorney general’s office and said that the government is caught between a balance of deliberation and paralysis. Roof is set to face trial on state charges July 11.

Progress was made in the case of Roof’s friend Joey Meek, who is accused of making false statements to federal officials and concealing knowledge of a crime in relation to last June’s shooting. If convicted, he faces a possible eight years in prison. Attorneys for both sides said in court Tuesday that they are prepared to begin trial. An attorney representing Meek estimates that the trial will take up to two weeks and proceedings could begin in late June. Proceedings are scheduled to begin June 27 in Charleston. 


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