Judge Rules Charleston Church Shooter Dylann Roof IS Competent Enough to Stand Trial


A Charleston judge has determined Dylann Roof is competent to stand trial for murdering nine people at Emanuel AME Church.

via WISTV:

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel released his decision Friday morning. Roof’s Federal trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection at 9 a.m. Monday.

According to a court document filed Friday, a criminal defendant is not competent to stand trial only if the Court finds “that the defendant is presently suffering from a mental disease or defect” that renders him “unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense.”  

“After carefully considering the record before the Court, the relevant legal standards, and the arguments of counsel, the Court now finds and concludes that the Defendant is competent to stand trial,” Gergel concluded.

Roof, 22, pleaded not guilty after being arraigned on 33 federal charges.

Before jury selection was scheduled to begin on Nov. 7, Roof’s lawyers moved to have the suspect analyzed by a doctor who could determine whether or not he was suffering a “mental disease or defect” that may make him unable to understand what was going on in court.  

Court-appointed Dr. James C. Ballenger reported on Roof’s competency in a two-day hearing earlier this week. The hearing included four other witnesses and testimony by sworn affidavits of three others, a court document filed Friday says. 

Dylann Roof is set to stand trial in January 2017.

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