Dylann Roof will represent himself during sentencing phase of death-penalty trial

Source Live 5 News

"But late last week, Roof's attorneys asked the judge to reverse the decision, arguing that Roof was not equipped to adequately defend himself against a possible death sentence, and that 'allowing him to proceed would deprive him of protection against cruel and unusual punishment, ' reported the Charleston Post and Courier". Roof was convicted of all 33 counts on Thursday.

The Associated Press adds Roof's lawyers say they were dismissed because Roof believed they would present potentially embarrassing evidence to save his life.

Convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof has told a judge he plans on calling no witnesses and presenting no evidence to try to convince a jury to spare his life for killing nine black church worshippers in a hate crime.

Roof will make an opening statement when the sentencing phase of the trial resumes January 3, he told U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel on Wednesday as part of a pretrial hearing, but otherwise plans no defense.

"Well, don't do them any favors", Gergel told the defendant, who appeared in the striped uniform of the Charleston jail as well as handcuffs and leg shackles.

Roof represented himself for a week during jury selection before asking for his attorneys back for the duration of the trial's guilt phase.


Based on notebooks found in his vehicle and elsewhere, Roof wrote of being moved by the killing of Trayvon Martin in which he sided with the black teen's killer, George Zimmerman.

Gergel responded he will give Roof until the start of proceedings to change his mind about using counsel.

Roof, however, said he meant to present none.

On Wednesday, Roof told Gergel he wanted that hearing to remain under seal, saying that making public those items defeats the objective of his self-representation.

Courts typically make public the competency hearings after a criminal proceeding has closed, Gergel said. He said he has reached no decision on the matter but is concerned about the potential impact of unsealing that information before Roof stands trial for murder in state court.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson said prosecutors have a list of about 38 potential witnesses to discuss the impact on victims in the case.

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