Convicted Charleston church mass killer Dylann Roof "may lack the mental capacity" to be his own lawyer in the upcoming punishment phase of his death penalty trial, Roof's attorneys said in a new request to the judge.
In his latest motion, Bruck noted that Roof announced this week at a pretrial conference that he will present no case to offset the government's evidence in the penalty phase.
Roof later asked to bring his lawyers back for the guilt portion of his trial, with the intention of representing himself again during sentencing.
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 past year.
But something has changed in the time since he was last evaluated, according to his defense attorneys, who filed a motion for a new competency hearing ahead of his January 3 federal sentencing trial.
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Judge Richard Gergel ordered the additional exam "in abundance of caution" after his standby lawyer questioned Roof's ability to stand trial, according to the courthouse.
An announcement by the United States District Court about the last-minute hearing states that the mental health issue should not delay the start of the sentencing phase on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, December 28, 2016 he was in court for a scheduled hearing. Gergel's order states the court-appointed doctor will conduct the evaluation over New Year's weekend at the Al Cannon Detention Center in Charleston County where Roof is being held.
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. Roof has been convicted of a 33 counts, including hate crimes.
The motion came one day after a presentencing hearing during which Roof again said he would represent himself in the sentencing phase of the trial. The competency hearing will take place Monday, and Gergel will make the ruling from the bench. During this proceeding, jurors will decide whether or not Roof will face the death penalty.