Trending Topics

Judge Finds Federal Indictment of Charleston Church Shooter Dylann Roof Lacks ‘Key Element’

Charleston church shooter Dylan Roof, 22. Photo courtesy of Gawker.

Charleston church shooter Dylan Roof, 22. Photo courtesy of AP.

On Thursday, a judge ruled that the federal case against accused church shooter Dylann Roof failed to thoroughly detail a key element of the shooter’s horrendous crimes.

According to the Charleston Post and Courier, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel requested that prosecutors submit a “bill of particulars,” detailing 12 of the 33 charges brought against Roof following his June 2015 massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church. The brutal attack left nine African-American parishioners dead, including the church’s head pastor.

The 22-year-old, who openly professed his views of white supremacy, was indicted on hate crimes, religious freedom violations, and the use of a firearm in a violent crime, the publication reports. He’s also accused of obstructing the practice of religion.

That religious rights charge stood at the center of Thursday’s dispute, as it is the determining factor in Roof’s eligibility for execution. Both state and federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the accused Charleston church shooter.

Per the Post and Courier, defense attorneys for Roof said the federal indictment against their client failed to explain how his crimes were carried out through the use of “interstate commerce.” The small, but significant, detail is a key component in allowing government authorities to indict Roof.

Prosecutors felt they provided enough information about the crimes’ link to interstate commerce by simply stating that Roof’s actions “were in and affected interstate commerce.” Judge Gergel dissented.

According to the publication, Gergel called the commerce connection an “essential element of the offense” and ruled that the indictment “provided no explanation” for the necessary component. He also asserted that the key information was necessary for Roof’s lawyers “to prepare a defense.”

Gergel’s ruling comes almost two weeks after defense attorneys filed a motion to dismiss all federal charges against the accused Charleston gunman. In it, they argued that the federal government didn’t have the constitutional authority to prosecute Roof; instead, the state government should be left to handle the matter, Atlanta Black Star reports. Attorneys also claimed the federal case against Roof violated his 13th Amendment rights (which outlawed slavery) and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

“The charges at issue are extremely grave, but under the Constitution they are not properly charged,” said Sarah Gannett, one of Roof’s lawyers. “The defendant therefore requests that the indictment be dismissed.”

According to South Carolina news station WCSC, jury selection for Roof’s federal trial is set to begin Nov. 7, while his state trial is scheduled for January 17, 2017.

What people are saying

22 thoughts on “Judge Finds Federal Indictment of Charleston Church Shooter Dylann Roof Lacks ‘Key Element’

  1. Leave him in front of the courthouse… We'll execute his azzz, and take the guesswork out of it.

  2. You have to realize this is Sc . They will make any excuse to give him a break . If it was the other way around where a black men went into a white church . He would be executed immediately . This is why sc is considered one the most racist states in the country .

  3. Kimani Starr says:

    Believe it or not this isn't as bad as it sounds.. Roof has federal (meaning the U.S. government) and state (The Government of the State of South Carolina) prosecutors going after him..Roof's lawyers are claiming that only the state should be coming after him not the federal government because they don't think the Federal government has proven that he committed a federal crime..The judge is asking the federal prosecutors for more evidence…Even if the federal case doesn't wind up sticking the state case definitely will and this guy will more than likely be executed or die in jail..

  4. Simple drop the federal charges and execute him under state statutes.

  5. Gail Joshua says:

    Right to a speedy trial? Why is this taking so long? Confession, video camera footage. Executed less than three months after a crime it was evident he did not commit because he was too scrawny to pull it off – yet it took less than a day for a jury to convict George Stinney Jr. and send him to the electric chair. What gives? This man is guilty!

  6. That's what I'm saying. Regardless of federal versus state, he still killed numerous people in spree a killing. Anything less than the death penalty would be short-handed.

  7. Alex Mollaneda You got it

  8. Cyndy Miller says:

    I must say it is as BAD as it appears. The defense is doing their best to DELAY, DELAY AND DELAY. It they can get Roof out of mass media, dismiss the Federal charges and get a JURY OF HIS PEERS (12 Racist) he will be set free.

  9. you're missing the point on so many levels bro lol

  10. Odessa Hahto says:

    Nine dead bodies how much more evidence you need?

  11. Interesting……….

  12. I wonder if they are still sending out for Burger King for him?

  13. Yes, it is as bad as it seems. No, dieing in jail is not the same as anticipating execution. Many of us are not for execution, but South Carolina has executed many for less heinous murders!! If he escapes execution, then, South Carolina needs to do away with the death pnalty all together.

  14. Alan Miller says:

    Don't forget that the judge who initially heard the case commented that Dylann Roof's family had suffered too.

  15. Just remember guys, "black lives matter"… HA!

  16. Its just lawyers doing lawyer shit. They can file motions for whatever they want, that doesn't mean that they have any merit. This guy will get what's coming to him.

  17. Kimani Starr you act as though prosecutors don't care when blacks are the victims. This must mean that you dont agree with court rulings when a cop has justifiably killed a black person; considering recent events. (Im assuming the only time you consider it "dropping the ball" is when the court finds the cops actions to be justified")
    If this is your opinion of the justice system, why should your opinion matter at all? If it were 9 whites gunned down i doubt you would even be here.

  18. Darrell King says:

    Boy these white supremacists are sick. This white supremacist has no 13th Amedment rights. The great Dr.Anderson told us years ago how everyone else benefits more from the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendment than black people. Roof is not a descendant of slaves, and whites never needed an amendment to gain freedom in America, only black people. I wouldnt be shocked if they sent this dude to a mental facility. He's already been portrayed as mentally ill lone wolf, which is the tag the media puts on violent white criminals.

  19. Oh, there is always a way that whie folks who kill balck folks be they police or vigalantie or a white supremist racist that always allows them to escape and NEVER BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

  20. That was an act of Terrorism, the Fed's should be going after him.

  21. Joyce Banks says:

    Thank you for that info. Now I have a question. While the state senator is not really a visitor, he is required to go to Washington on a regular basis for a number of reasons. Would that also apply to this clause?

Leave a Reply

Back to top