Published: Sun, January 01, 2017
Medical | By Dorothy Lyons

Dylann Roof To Undergo Second Competency Test Ahead Of Sentencing

Dylann Roof To Undergo Second Competency Test Ahead Of Sentencing

The attorneys said Roof's announcement earlier this week that he won't call any witnesses or present evidence to defend himself from the death penalty suggests he lacks the mental capacity to be his own lawyer.

Dylann Roof's stand by counsel are requesting that the competency hearing scheduled for the convicted Charleston church shooter be delayed.

Judge Richard Gergel ordered another psychiatric evaluation of Roof that will take place over the weekend.

If Roof is found incompetent for the sentencing trial, it could halt the proceedings altogether, until his competency is restored, Charleston-based criminal defense attorney Chris Adams said in a phone interview.

Dylann Roof's standby counsel asked for the hearing scheduled for Monday to be pushed back one week.

Lawyers involved with Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof have asked a judge to delay a competency hearing in order to review a mental health evaluation scheduled for this weekend ahead of his sentencing for the massacre a year ago.

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Gergel reiterates that he ordered the new exam "out of an abundance of caution", but makes clear he will not "conduct a "redo" of the last hearing.

Gergel's order said Roof will be evaluated over the weekend at the Charleston County jail.

Also Thursday, prosecutors objected to the judge's plan to tell jurors if they don't reach a unanimous decision to sentence Roof to death, then he will sentence Roof to life in prison without the possibility for release. Gergel's denial means it's still set to begin Tuesday before the same jurors who convicted Roof of 33 counts, including hate crimes and obstruction of religion.

Opening statements in the sentencing phase of Roof's federal trial are still set to begin January 3, 2017.

Roof's standby counsel made the motion based on "facts developed since the competency hearing held on November 21-22", the order states. Prosecutors say the judge should only provide such an instruction if the jury returns and states it actually is deadlocked. "But when the government asks for the death penalty, there arises a special need accuracy that can slow and delay the legal process in ways that noncapital sentencings do not", Bruck wrote.

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