Attorneys for accused Emanuel AME Church shooter Dylann Roof have filed court documents requesting that the jury for their client’s federal trial be pulled from the Charleston area alone.
During a hearing last week, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel suggested that the 12 jurors and six alternates who will decide Roof’s guilt or innocence in the capital trial be drawn from a statewide pool of 1,200-1,500. At that time, defense attorney David Bruck mentioned a possible preference for a local jury pool in a move that seemed to catch the judge by surprise. Roof faces a 33-count federal indictment stemming from the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston that claimed nine lives almost one year ago.
Roof originally waived his right to a trial by jury — putting his fate in the hands of Judge Gergel — but federal prosecutors did not consent. Potential jurors who are deemed acceptable after completing a standard questionnaire will appear in a federal courthouse between Sept. 26-30 to complete a case-specific questionnaire. The final round of jury selection will coincide with the start of Roof’s federal trial set to begin Nov. 7.