Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Attorneys for Charleston Church Shooter Dylann Roof File Death Penalty Challenge

by The Associated Press /
Image: Dylann Storm Roof
In this handout photo provided by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office Detention Center, Dylann Storm Roof is seen in his booking photo after he was apprehended as the main suspect in the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church that killed nine people on June 18, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston County Sheriff's Office / Getty Images

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Attorneys for the man charged with killing nine people at a Charleston church are challenging federal prosecutors' intention to seek the death penalty against him.

Lawyers for Dylann Roof argue in a motion filed Monday that the death penalty and federal death penalty law are unconstitutional.

Image: Dylann Storm Roof
Charleston, S.C., shooting suspect Dylann Storm Roof, center, is escorted from the Sheby Police Department in Shelby, N.C., Thursday, June 18, 2015. Roof is a suspect in the shooting of several people Wednesday night at the historic The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)Chuck Burton / AP, file

Their motion asks that a judge declare the death penalty law unconstitutional. It says such a ruling would permit Roof to enter a guilty plea and be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release.

Roof is also facing a death penalty trial next year in state court in connection with the June 2015 shootings at Emanuel AME Church. No date has been set for the federal trial.

Authorities said Roof posed with the Confederate battle flag before the killings and talked of trying to start a race war.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news