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Dylann Roof, against the advice of the judge in his own hate crime murder case, has elected to represent himself. The motion surprised many on Monday morning as jury selection was set to begin. The experienced attorneys that were representing Roof on the multiple hate crime murder charges are now required to serve in an advisory/standby capacity.
While the statistics are grim for defendants that represent themselves, most that choose to do so are exploiting the process either to have a forum to justify their crime or expound on some other delusional agenda. Critics are concerned that Roof will use the opportunity to harass his victims' families and survivors. While the judge cautioned Roof about representing himself, he had previously determined that Roof was competent to stand trial, over his attorneys' objections.
Dylann Roof was attending a Bible study group in Charleston, South Carolina, when he pulled a gun out of his fanny pack and opened fire. He killed nine people. Prior to the shooting, he made statements while praying with the group that made his motivation for the shooting clear: racial hatred.
When a crime is motivated by race or other protected status, a criminal charge can be enhanced as a hate crime. Hate crimes are punished more severely, and in Roof's case, he is facing the death penalty.
The trial should be starting soon as jury selection started Monday and seven jurors have already been selected. So far, one man and six women have been selected. It was reported that Roof did not do much during the process.
Since Roof is representing himself, the jury selection process and trial may move along swifter than anticipated, as pro se litigants are less able than attorneys to control the pace of a trial.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.