Judge wants to close hearing on evidence in church shooting

Dylann Roof

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A federal judge in South Carolina wants to close a hearing next month to consider a defense request to keep some evidence out of the trial of Dylann Roof in the Charleston church shootings.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel issued an order Tuesday setting a Sept. 1 hearing. The order says he intends to close the hearing to protect Roof’s right to a fair trial.

Gergel said making the evidence public before the court can consider whether it may be admitted could interfere with seating an impartial jury. Gergel also agreed to seal proposed questionnaires to screen potential jurors.

The 22-year-old Roof faces numerous federal charges in the shooting deaths of nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015.

His death penalty trial is set for November.

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