Dylann Roof ruled competent to stand trial in SC church killings

Dylann Roof
FILE - In this June 19, 2015 file photo, Dylann Storm Roof appears via video before a judge, in Charleston, S.C., Friday, June 19, 2015. Roof is accused of killing nine people inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. (Centralized Bond Hearing Court via AP)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A judge has ruled that Dylann Roof is competent to stand trial for the killing of nine black worshippers at a South Carolina church.

Judge Richard Gergel made the ruling Friday after a two-day hearing behind closed doors earlier this week. The hearing was needed after Roof’s attorneys questioned earlier this month whether he could help them on the eve of jury selection in his death penalty trial.

Gergel says jury selection will begin Monday.

Gergel sealed his reasons for finding Roof competent, saying that information could keep him from having a fair trial.

The 22-year-old white man is charged in federal court with hate crime, obstruction of religion and other counts for the deadly June 2015 attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

RELATED: PHOTOS- Charleston Church Shooting Victims

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