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Dylann Roof to represent self in Charleston murder trial

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Accused Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof looked solemn as he appeared remotely by video before a judge on June 20, 2015. Magistrate James Gosnell Jr. informed Roof of what will happen next for him legally. In his first comments since being arrested, Roof briefly answered a number of basic questions asked by the judge regarding his age, address and employment status.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A federal judge on Monday granted Dylann Roof’s motion to represent himself, according to CNN affiliates.

Roof, who is accused of killing nine people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015, was deemed competent to stand trial last week.

Jury selection had been under way when US District Judge Richard Mark Gergel halted the process to allow Roof to undergo a competency evaluation. Gergel ruled Roof was competent, but he sealed a document containing the reasons for his finding. Disclosing the document would jeopardize Roof’s right to a fair trial, the judge said.

The process of selecting a jury of Roof’s peers resumed Monday.

Roof faces 33 federal charges: nine counts of violating the Hate Crime Act resulting in death; three counts of violating the Hate Crime Act involving an attempt to kill; nine counts of obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death; three counts of obstruction of exercise of religion involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon; and nine counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence.

If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Roof also faces nine counts of murder and other charges in the state court system. His trial in that case is scheduled to start in January.

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