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Charleston Church Shootings: Dylann Roof Wants to Waive Trial

by Alex Johnson /
Dylann Storm Roof in a booking photo.Charleston County Sheriff's Office / Charleston County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

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Federal prosecutors and lawyers for Dylann Storm Roof are at odds over whether he should face a jury on capital charges that he killed nine people at a South Carolina church last year, according to court documents.

Lawyers for Roof, 22, of Columbia, South Carolina, filed a motion Thursday waiving his right to a jury trial in the shootings on June 17, 2015, during a Bible study class at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

But in the same motion, they said federal prosecutors had already rejected the idea and are determined to bring him to trial.

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The U.S. Justice Department filed a notice last month that it is seeking the death penalty against Roof, a white supremacist who multiple law enforcement sources have told NBC News admitted having carried out the shootings.

Roof's lawyers have previously said he would agree to plead guilty to the 33 counts of committing hate crimes, obstruction of religion belief and firearms violations if federal prosecutors ruled out the death penalty.

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel has scheduled Roof's federal trial for Nov. 7. State prosecutors are also seeking the death penalty in separate proceedings; that trial is scheduled to begin in January.

Joey Meek, 21, a friend of Roof's, pleaded guilty last month to federal charges that he failed to tell investigators what he knew about Roof's plans.

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