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Roof Found Competent for Sentencing, Gets Extra Prep Day


Roof was found guilty last month of 33 federal charges including murder, attempted murder, hate crimes and the obstruction of the practice of religion. The court has now granted him a day to prepare for his sentencing hearing during which a jury will decide whether he should be awarded life imprisonment of the death sentence.

Before the hearing Monday, the federal judge ruled the public and media could not be inside, so that jurors who are mulling Roof's sentence wouldn't find out what was discussed. He must also sit in a chair farthest from the jury and any victims' family members who are attending the trial.

Jurors are set to begin hearing evidence Tuesday as to why prosecutors feel he should be put to death for killing nine people at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015.

If Roof is trying to sabotage his own trial, he wouldn't be the first to do so.

Details on the competency hearing will not be released until after the trial, said U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel.

The competency hearing would in part address Roof's planned strategy, one that he said extends beyond not offering witnesses or evidence, Gergel said, in offering another reason for it to be closed, though he did not elaborate.

Roof's sentencing is scheduled for 9:30am on Wednesday.

Lake effect snow warning issued for Onondaga, Madison counties
The forecast dries out by mid to late afternoon, but gets chilly this evening with gusty winds of 30 miles per hour possible. With wind gusts up to 35 miles per hour , visibilities could be reduced to as low as one-quarter mile, forecasters said.

"This is an incredibly sensitive moment in this proceeding", Gergel said.

The decision was announced Monday after several hours of testimony.

As sentencing resumes, prosecutors anticipate calling almost 40 people to the stand, a lot of them family members of the victims, though the lead Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in the case is expected to again testify as prosecutors seek a death sentence.

With Roof representing himself, the process is sure to be unconventional. Before the trial began, a judge determined Roof was competent to stand trial.

Prosecutors plan to call up to 38 people related to those killed at the church as well as the three survivors of the massacre during the penalty phase of the trial.

Even if Roof is sentenced to death, it's highly unlikely he'd be executed anytime soon.

"When you look at people who choose to ask for death at trial, or people who waive their appeals and agree to be executed ..." A psychiatrist who has evaluated many criminals including the "Unabomber" and Zacarias Moussaoui and now says that Roof displays signs of schizophrenia spectrum disorder.

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