Judge sets trial for suspect in Charleston church shooting

Charleston (South Carolina) Jul 16: A white man charged with killing nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church will stand trial next July, a judge ruled during a brief hearing today.

Judge J.C. Nicholson set a July 11, 2016, trial date for Dylann Roof, 21, who faces multiple charges, including nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder stemming from the June 17 shootings. Roof sat quietly during the proceedings in a gray-striped prison jump suit in a courtroom crowded with about 100 people. He was presented copies of the indictments and public defender Ashley Pennington told the judge he would not seek bond at this time "based on the totality of the circumstances."

Charleston shooting

The judge called Roof a flight risk, noting he was arrested in Shelby, North Carolina, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) away, the day after the parishioners were shot to death during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Following the hearing, a document was filed signed by the judge denying bond on the grounds that Roof is a flight risk and an unreasonable danger to the community.

Federal authorities have not said whether they will pursue hate crime charges against Roof, although Justice Department officials have said they broadly agree the shootings meet the legal requirements for a hate crime. Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, the local prosecutor, said the case "has the potential for a capital case" although the state has not yet said if it is seeking the death penalty. 


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