Dylann Roof Walks Back On Decision To Represent Himself In Charleston Trial
Roof will be represented by his attorneys during the guilt phase of the federal death penalty trial but will be on his own during the penalty phase.
Dylann Roof is now requesting the assistance of his attorneys just a week after passing them off to represent himself during his Charleston shooting trial.
NBC News reports Roof's new request allows his lawyers to represent him during the guilt phase of his trial, which begins in North Carolina on Wednesday (Dec. 7). Roof is being charged with the deaths of nine African-American parishioners at Mother Emanuel Church in June 2015. His case is being treated as a death penalty case, which is split into two parts: the guilt phase and the penalty phase. Roof will represent himself during the penalty phase which will determine if the 22-year-old will face life in prison without parole or the death penalty.
The handwritten note was given to U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel on Sunday (Dec. 4).
"I would like to ask if my lawyers can represent me for the guilt phase of the trial only," Roof wrote. "Can you let me have them back for the guilt phase, and then let me represent myself for the sentencing phase of the trial? If you would allow that, then that is what I would like to do." Roof also requested that his lawyers not present evidence on his behalf, in hopes that embarrassing documents wouldn't make its way to the general public.
Ultimately, this means Roof will not cross-examine survivors or witnesses during the trial. While Gergel approved the switch, he denied the defenses' request to drop Roof's 33-count hate crime charge. Post and Courier added Gergel confirmed the jury would be sequestered and crime scene photos have been banned from being copied or uploaded online. The evidence will also be limited from public view.
"Importantly, the Government is not asking to seal this evidence, only to limit its distribution. Members of the public will be able to view the evidence in open court and hear any testimony regarding it," Gergel wrote.