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Judge Who Presided Over Dylann Roof Bond Hearing Was Reprimanded for Racial Slur

Charleston County Magistrate James Gosnell Jr. made the comments during a court hearing over a decade ago.
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The judge who oversaw a bond hearing for a man accused of fatally shooting nine people at a historic black church in Charleston was previously reprimanded for using a racial slur while on the bench.

Charleston County Magistrate James Gosnell Jr., who presided over confessed gunman Dylann Roof's bond hearing on Friday, made the comments in a courtroom over a decade ago.

Gosnell was reprimanded by the state Supreme Court in 2005 for telling a black defendant in 2003, "There are four kinds of people in this world: black people, white people, rednecks, and n******."

RELATED: Families of Victims Address Dylann Roof at Bond Hearing

The state Supreme Court announced prior to the bond hearing that Circuit Court Judge J.C. Nicholson would preside over Roof's criminal charges, not Gosnell, per standard procedure in South Carolina. Circuit judges are the ones that oversee trials, while magistrates preside over bonds and 30-day misdemeanors.

Roof confessed to killing nine people at the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on Wednesday night, sources told NBC News. Police say they believe the attack was a hate crime.

RELATED: Dylann Roof Hinted of Attack, Friend Says

A racist website showing photos of Roof that contains a long white supremacist screed was discovered Saturday registered under the name Dylann Roof, using Roof's mother's home address. NBC News could not confirm the site's authenticity or whether Roof was its creator.

RELATED: Racist Website Appears to Belong to Charleston Church Shooter

According to a disciplinary order posted by the court about Gosnell's choice of language, the judge claimed he was quoting a statement made to him by a veteran black sheriff's deputy. He said he repeated the statement to the defendant in a poorly executed attempt to encourage him to change the path he had chosen for his life.

Gosnell also said that he personally knew the defendant, as well as the defendant's father and grandfather.

Lionel Lofton, Gosnell's longtime lawyer, downplayed the incident, telling NBC News that the national media was trying to make a big deal out of something that happened 13 years ago. He added that Gosnell was disciplined by the court for it, and said it's now a "non-issue."

An earlier version of this story was incorrect. Magistrate James Gosnell was not removed from the case. The Supreme Court ordered that a Circuit Court judge would preside over the case in the future, per standard procedure in South Carolina.