Friend of accused South Carolina church gunman freed on bail

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 04, 2015 4:27 PM

By Harriet McLeod

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - A South Carolina man charged with hiding from federal investigators what he knew about a church shooting massacre his friend Dylann Roof is accused of carrying out was freed from jail on Wednesday, a source familiar with the case said.

A judge ordered Joseph Meek's release after he posted a secured bond of $25,000 in Columbia, said the source, who was not authorized to talk about the proceedings. Meek, 21, is required to live with his grandparents and will be under home detention with electronic monitoring.

He must undergo a mental health evaluation and participate in treatment, according to a court order.

According to newspaper reports, Meek gave Roof a place to stay at his home in Lexington, South Carolina, in the weeks before police say Roof gunned down nine black churchgoers during a June 17 Bible study at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston.

Meek has said he knew Roof had purchased a handgun, but told reporters he dismissed his friend's racist comments as drunken bluster. Both Meek and Roof are white.

A federal grand jury indicted Meek on charges that he concealed knowledge of a felony crime and made false statements to an FBI agent after the shooting.

In October, a judge reduced Meek's bond to $25,000 from $100,000.

Roof, also 21, faces 33 federal hate crime and firearms charges, along with state murder charges. State prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.

(Reporting by Harriet McLeod; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Peter Cooney)