Dylann Roof attorneys want competency hearing pushed back one week

Posted January 01, 2017

Defence lawyer David Bruck, who filed the motion, and the lead prosecutor did not comment on the latest developments in the case. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel granted the request Thursday and set a hearing for Monday morning.

But something has changed in the time since he was last evaluated, according to his defense attorneys, who filed a motion for a new competency hearing ahead of his January 3 federal sentencing trial.

The court said it doesn't intend to redo the first competency hearing, and that it will limit any evidence discussed Monday to new things that have happened since the last competency hearing.

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A federal judge on Thursday ordered a new competency exam for convicted Charleston church gunman Dylann Roof, who faced the death penalty for killing nine black members of the Emanuel AME Church in 2015.

Roof allowed the defense team to cross-examine witnesses during the guilty phase, but he again jettisoned the team this week, relegating Bruck to a "standby" role.

"These conditions are not optimal, but even if they are adhered to, the parties will require time to review the results of those evaluations in order to assure a full and accurate presentation to the Court", attorneys said in the motion."We therefore suggest a one week continuance to permit the evaluators to complete their work, the parties to review it, and the witnesses to make travel arrangements".

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This is the second time an evaluation will be conducted.

After hearing about a mental health examiner's evaluation of Roof and about various legal arguments, Gergel ruled in November that the defendant was competent to stand trial and to represent himself.

His lawyers have challenged the federal death penalty. Prosecutors say the judge should only provide such an instruction if the jury returns and states it actually is deadlocked.

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Jurors on December 15 found Roof, a 22-year-old avowed white supremacist, guilty of 33 charges of federal hate crimes resulting in death, obstruction of religion and firearms violations stemming from the shooting deaths of nine people attending a Bible study at a historic black church. He was represented by a lawyer during the guilt phase of the trial.