facing the death penalty

Dylann Roof ruled competent to stand trial for his massacre at a South Carolina church

Getty Images

Dylann Roof, the white 22-year-old accused in federal court of killing nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina last June was ruled competent to stand trial by federal judge Richard Gergel on Friday morning. Roof faces the death penalty and has plead not guilty to all charges.

He was charged with hate crimes and obstruction of religion for the killings by the federal government—but not, as noted by the Intercept, terrorism, despite writing in an online manifesto,

I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.

Roof’s lawyers previously tried to argue that Roof may have a “mental disease or defect” that would make him unfit to stand trial, but a doctor appointed by the court cleared him, Gergel wrote in his order. (His lawyers have also argued that the death penalty Roof faces is unconstitutional.) Jury selection begins Monday, November 28th.