Roof Attorneys Ask for More Time in State Trial

Dylann Roof in Bullet Proof Vest

Dylann Roof/WCIV

Attorneys for Dylann Roof are asking a judge to delay his trial in state court so they can spend more time preparing his defense against a death sentence.

Defense attorneys Ashley Pennington and William McGuire did not offer a new date for the trial to begin.

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said her office would not comment on the motion to reschedule.

Roof’s trial is currently set to begin July 11, and he faces a possible death penalty for killing nine black parishioners inside Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston. He’s also facing attempted murder charges for three others at the church.

Citing past cases, Pennington and McGuire said not allowing them extra time to prepare and study all of the mitigating evidence in the case could lead to a reversal of the verdict by an appellate court.

They contend that “investigation and preparation remains to be done in a case that is neither factually nor legally simple or straight-forward.”

Not wanting to share details of the defense, Pennington and McGuire filed separate, exp arte papers to the judge, but said in the public filing they are “simply not able to complete the required mitigation investigation by the current trial date of July 11, 2016, and the defendant will be prejudiced by not allowing his attorneys additional time for adequate preparation to defend the defendant at his impending death penalty trial.”

The attorneys will return to court Wednesday to discuss details of the case.

Postponement is something of a way of life for Roof, who is now 22 years old. The federal case against him has been delayed repeatedly as federal prosecutors await instruction from the Department of Justice and the Attorney General’s Office on seeking the death penalty in federal court.

He faces dozens of federal hate crimes charges.

Roof, through his attorneys at the state and federal level, has said several times that he is willing to plead guilty if prosecutors remove the dealth penalty option.

Categories: State