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Alleged Charleston Shooter Offers to Plead Guilty as Judge Refuses to Release 911 Emergency Calls

Dylann Storm Roof appears by closed-circuit television at his bond hearing in Charleston, South Carolina June 19, 2015 in a still image from video. A 21-year-old white man has been charged with nine counts of murder in connection with an attack on a historic black South Carolina church, police said on Friday, and media reports said he had hoped to incite a race war in the United States. REUTERS/POOL TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX1HB17

Dylann Storm Roof appears by closed-circuit television at his bond hearing in Charleston, South Carolina June 19, 2015 in a still image from video. (Reuters)

The legal team representing Dylann Roof, the white supremacist accused of killing nine churchgoers in Charleston, S.C. is trying to work out a deal that would spare his life.

Reuters reports Bill McGuire, Roof’s attorney, said he was willing to plead guilty in exchange for life without parole. McGuire argued that a guilty plea would spare the families from the trauma of going through a lengthy trial. Prosecutors have not said whether they will accept the plea.

McGuire’s comments came during a hearing on whether a judge will release 911 emergency calls and police reports from the shooting. Judge J.C. Nicholson had earlier ruled to block the release of information from emergency services units and police because he was concerned about the graphic nature of the photos and 911 calls from the victims.

“The sounds of people dying come through on that (911) tape,” Nicholson said Wednesday, “and it’s quite morbid.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams, who is prosecuting Roof on federal hate crimes charges, has also expressed concerns over releasing the information. He said it would “retraumatize” the victims.

“It may take years before people are ready to see that,” said Williams, according to Reuters.

Several media organizations are trying to gain access to police records of the massacre, but have been rebuffed by Nicholson’s gag order.

“I see no benefit… for the news media to have access to those photos of people lying dead in a pool of blood on the church floor,” he said. “That’s my concern.”

Roof is facing 33 federal hate crime and weapons charges. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the charges are based on the fact that Roof targeted his victims on the basis of their race and “in order to interfere with the exercise of their religion.”

The Post-Courier also reported Joey Meek, a former friend of Roof’s, may be facing federal charges for lying to the police and not reporting everything he knew. Meek had reconnected with Roof and heard him say someone needed to do something about Blacks taking over the world. Roof had been drinking at the time, and Meek took his gun away from him. However, Meek returned the gun when Roof sobered up.

Meek is currently on probation for possessing a stolen car.

“He’s got a good job now,” said his girlfriend Lindsay Fry in an interview with The Courier-Post. “He’s paying probation. We’re supposed to move soon. We’re trying to save money for a car. But now we have to do this.”

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