Church shooting suspect's friend seeks bond reduction

AP News
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Posted: Sep 29, 2015 2:34 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The friend of a white man charged with killing nine black churchgoers has asked a judge for another chance to get out of jail before his trial, saying his family will help support him in the meantime.

Attorneys for Joey Meek, 21, asked a federal judge on Monday to lower his $100,000 bond, according to court records. Meek's attorneys say he has been in solitary confinement since his arrest on charges of lying to law enforcement agents and failing to report what he knew about Dylann Roof's plans.

Roof, 21, faces possible death sentences in the state and federal systems over the June 17 shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. A day after the shooting, Meek told The Associated Press that Roof had drunkenly complained to him that "blacks were taking over the world" and "someone needed to do something about it for the white race."

Authorities say Meek knew more, and they wrote in an indictment that he knowingly lied to an FBI agent when he said "that he did not know specifics of Dylann Roof's plan to shoot individuals on a Wednesday, during Bible Study, at an AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina."

In Monday's filing, his attorneys said Meek has been in solitary confinement since his Sept. 17 arrest, is not a flight risk and has many relatives in the area to make sure he shows up in court. They also noted that, when Meek's original bond was set, a pretrial report on his finances and criminal history had not yet been completed, with the judge saying at the time he could ask for a lower bond once it had been done.

That report, according to his attorneys, shows that Meek "has a very limited, non-violent criminal history." Meek is on probation, having pleaded guilty earlier this year to possessing a stolen vehicle, according to Lexington County court records.

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Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP