Judge refuses to delay Dylann Roof’s trial

Charleston, S.C., shooting suspect Dylann Storm Roof is escorted from the Cleveland County Courthouse 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. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A federal judge has refused to delay jury selection and opening statements in the death penalty trial of Dylann Roof in the killings of nine people in a Charleston church.

Roof’s lawyers said the publicity surrounding the mistrial in former police officer Michel Slager’s murder case in the courthouse across the street might influence Roof’s jurors.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel called the request “utterly farfetched and illogical” in a ruling handed down hours after the defense motion was filed Tuesday.

Gergel wrote that a 45-item questionnaire and extensive in-person questioning last week assured him all 67 people in the jury pool are fair and impartial.

Both Slager’s case and Roof’s case have centered on race. They are white and the people killed were black.

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