Newly unsealed court documents in the federal death penalty trial of Dylann Roof indicate the judge believes it’s possible the white man who confessed to, and is charged with gunning down nine black parishioners in Charleston may not be mentally competent to stand trial.
According to a defense motion unsealed Friday, U.S. Judge Richard Gergel has found “reasonable cause to believe” Roof may be “suffering from a mental disease or defect.” Read full motion here.
Gergel ordered another competency exam for Roof this week, one day after halting jury selection because of the defense motion. He will hold a hearing Wednesday. Gergel plans to rule within days whether Roof is competent and, if so, begin jury selection for Roof’s trial Nov. 21.
While the defense motion was unsealed, much of it is redacted.
Roof’s attorneys want the hearing closed.
Some observers say the move could be a “stall tactic” to delay the proceeding until after the inauguration of Donald Trump.