Judge delays state trial in church shooting

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A judge has delayed the start of the state trial for the man accused of killing nine people at a Charleston church, giving the prosecution and defense more time to prepare.

Dylann Roof is charged with nine counts of murder in the shooting deaths of black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church last year.

Jury selection in the trial was to have begun in December with testimony set for January. But Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson indicated during a hearing Wednesday he will delay jury selection until January.

That would provide more time between the start of the state trial and Roof’s federal trial on hate crime and other charges.

Public Defender Ashley Pennington told the judge he won’t be able to meet with Roof while Roof stands trial in federal court in a case beginning in November.

And prosecutor Scarlett Wilson said the delay allows her more time to prepare for jury selection after another high-profile case. She is prosecuting former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager for murder in the April 2015 shooting death of black motorist Walter Scott. That trial is set for Oct. 31.

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