CHARLESTON, S.C., Sept. 26 (UPI) — Jury selection in the federal murder trial of suspected South Carolina shooter Dylann Roof began Monday, setting the stage for prosecutors’ forthcoming attempt to have him executed for the crime.
Attorneys for both sides began the process of juror selection at a federal courthouse in Charleston. The final 12 will be chosen from the candidate pool of about 3,000 people.
Roof, 22, faces 33 separate charges stemming from the June 17, 2015, mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Nine people died, including a state representative. Some of the charges are for hate crimes.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel excused a few potential jurors on Monday and instructed those remaining not to self-investigate the case.
“No Googling,” he said. “Blame me. The judge told you not to talk about it.”
Roof was present in the courtroom for Monday’s proceedings. He has offered to plead guilty to the shootings if prosecutors spare him the death penalty, but federal officials are seeking to put him to death.
Final jury selection is scheduled for Nov. 7. Roof also faces nine counts in a state murder trial scheduled for January.