Suspect in South Carolina church shooting facing federal charges, including hate crimes

Posted on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015 at 4:30 pm    

Twenty-one-year-old Dylann Roof, the suspected shooter in the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church killings in Charleston, SC, was scheduled to be arraigned last Monday, June 20 on new charges of obstructing the practice of religion, hate crimes, and firearms violations five weeks after the tragic killings of nine people.

It has been reported that Roof wants to enter a plea of guilty for the 33 counts he currently faces. His attorney has said that his team cannot advise Roof on this matter until they find out if the government will be seeking the maximum penalty. Of the 33 charges faced by Roof at this time, eighteen carry the death penalty, with the others carrying life sentences following conviction. In addition to these penalties, the charges against Roof could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant has entered a plea of not guilty for Roof. Marchant also accepted Roof’s indigent defendant applications, meaning the state will pay his attorney fees. Roof’s defense attorneys must file any pretrial motions by August 20. At this time there are no future hearings scheduled regarding Roof’s case.