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Judge orders evaluation of Dylann Roof before sentencing

01 January 2017

The lawyer, David Bruck, expressed such concerns in asking for a week-long delay of a hearing meant to determine whether Roof is competent to represent himself in the penalty phase next week.

Roof's lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel on Thursday to delay a hearing scheduled for January 2 to determine if the convicted shooter is competent for his sentencing trial, which is scheduled to start the next morning.

Dylann Roof's stand by counsel are requesting that the competency hearing scheduled for the convicted Charleston church shooter be delayed.

Roof now will be evaluated over the weekend and a competency hearing is set for Monday, the judge said in his order.

In the penalty phase of a death penalty trial, defendants usually put up witnesses to show the jury why a defendant should get life in prison without parole. Roof told the judge in Wednesday's hearing that he sees the public release of those documents as problematic.

Lawyers involved with Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof have asked a judge to delay a competency hearing in order to review a mental health evaluation scheduled for this weekend ahead of his sentencing for the massacre previous year.

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This is the second time an evaluation will be conducted.

A jury found Roof guilty December 15 on all 33 counts, including hate crimes and obstruction of religion.

The motion was sealed, but Gergel said defence lawyers stated it was spurred by facts developed since the judge found Roof competent after a hearing held in November ahead of the guilt phase of his trial.

Gergel said then he took the rare step of keeping the hearing closed to the public and media because Roof made statements to a psychologist that might not be legal to use at his trial and could taint potential jurors.

"This defendant's announcement that he will not defend himself against the death penalty - following an government presentation that is expected to involve more than 38 additional witnesses and hundreds more exhibits - raises in especially stark fashion the question of whether the defendant is actually unable to defend himself", Bruck said Thursday in his motion. Jurors are scheduled to begin deciding Tuesday whether Roof will face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Judge orders evaluation of Dylann Roof before sentencing