The Latest: Judge refuses to delay Dylann Roof's trial

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Posted: Dec 06, 2016 6:58 PM
The Latest: Judge refuses to delay Dylann Roof's trial

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of Dylann Roof charged with killing nine people in a Charleston church (all times local):

6:50 p.m.

A federal judge has refused to delay jury selection and opening statements in the death penalty trial of Dylann Roof in the killings of nine people in a Charleston church.

Roof's lawyers said the publicity surrounding the mistrial in former police officer Michel Slager's murder case in the courthouse across the street might influence Roof's jurors.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel called the request "utterly farfetched and illogical" in a ruling handed down hours after the defense motion was filed Tuesday.

Gergel wrote that a 45-item questionnaire and extensive in-person questioning last week assured him all 67 people in the jury pool are fair and impartial.

Both Slager's case and Roof's case have centered on race. They are white and the people killed were black.

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3:55 p.m.

Lawyers for Dylann Roof want to delay picking a jury in his federal death penalty trial because of the publicity surrounding the mistrial in a former police officer's case.

Roof's lawyers filed the request Tuesday. Jury selection is expected to start Wednesday in Charleston, where a mistrial was declared earlier this week for former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager.

Roof's attorneys say if U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel goes forward, he at least needs to question the jury pool extensively about their opinions in the Slager case.

Race plays a central role in both cases. Slager, who is white, shot and killed a fleeing, unarmed black driver.

Roof is charged with killing nine people at an African-American church in June 2015.