COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A federal judge says he allowed a white man charged with the shooting deaths of nine black church parishioners in South Carolina to represent himself because Dylann Roof did not make the decision rashly and appeared competent.
In an order made available Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel wrote that Roof met the standards required for self-representation, even though he called the defendant’s decision to act as his own lawyer “very unwise.”
The judge said Roof was “alert, focused and confident” when he asked the court to act as his own lawyer and that the decision was not “rashly made.”
Some portions of the memo are blacked out, including details of Roof’s competency hearing, which was closed to the public and news media earlier this month.
Juror qualification continues Wednesday in Roof’s federal death penalty trial.