The state trial for Dylann Roof has been rescheduled to Jan. 17, 2017, after Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson granted a continuance Wednesday.
Attorneys for the defense told the judge that they would need to delay the trial by as much as six months to allow for a complete psychiatric evaluation of their client. Roof was originally scheduled to face trial July 11 for nine counts of murder in addition to three counts of attempted murder stemming from last June’s shooting at Emanuel AME Church. If convicted in state court, Roof could face the death penalty. Judge Nicholson’s ruling came with the stipulation that the defense and the evaluating doctor provide monthly reports on their progress. Jury qualifications for the trial will now begin Dec. 6.
Wednesday’s ruling comes just eight days after U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel granted federal prosecutors a continuance while the attorney general’s office works to determine if they will seek the death penalty for Roof. No trial date has been set in that case.
Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson is the lead prosecutor in the state cases for both Roof and former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, who is scheduled to face trial Oct. 31 for the shooting death of Walter Scott. Attorney Andy Savage, who is defending Slager in addition to providing counsel for several of the victims’ families involved in the church shooting, said the judge’s decision to delay was expected. Savage would not comment on what effect Wednesday’s ruling may have on Slager’s trial, but he and his team are prepared to begin in October.