Documents question Dylann Roof’s competency

Dylann Roof (Charleston County Sheriff's Office via AP)
Dylann Roof (Charleston County Sheriff's Office via AP)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Newly unsealed court documents in the federal death penalty trial of Dylann Roof indicate the judge believes it’s possible the white man 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.”

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.

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