This morning [Wednesday, April 13], a South Carolina judge will hear arguments on whether to grant a delay in the state death-penalty trial of Dylann Roof, the gunman charged with murdering nine parishioners inside the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, S.C. last year.

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Scheduled to begin on July 11, the defense is arguing that they do not have enough time to prepare for the trial, requesting that they gain some more time to allow for a fair trial.

It was last summer in July that circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson set the trial date, giving both the defense and prosecution approximately a year’s time to prepare.


Roof faces a total of 33 federal charges that include nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder after he entered the historically black church on June 17, 2015 during a bible study session, launching a planned attack on the attendees.

A pool of 600 potential jurors are expected to report to court on June 28, with initial screening and jury seating to begin on July 11.

“To begin selecting a jury on July 11, 2016 or May 24, 2016, while substantial investigation and preparation remains to be done in a case that is neither factually nor legally simple or straight-forward, would deny the defendant the ‘basic tools of an adequate defense,'” the lawyers stated in their motion.