Following the horrendous slaughter in 2015 of nine innocent individuals at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, people used all sorts of terms to describe accused murderer Dylann Roof, such as “crazed,” “psychotic” and “mentally unbalanced.”
But it would seem that he does not actually fit any of those terms, at least in the legal sense, as the judge overseeing his trial just ruled him mentally competent to stand trial for his alleged crime, according to CNN.
The decision from U.S. District Judge Richard Mark Gergel came in a sealed document following a closed hearing with prosecutors, defense attorneys, psychiatrists and other witnesses.
The ruling allows jury selection to continue in Roof’s death penalty case, scheduled to begin in January, in which he will face 33 separate charges ranging from murder to various sorts of hate crimes.
According to the International Business Times, the 16-hour closed-door hearing took place Monday and Tuesday, brought about over newfound concerns from defense attorneys regarding Roof’s competency and whether he fully understood the charges and consequences he faced.
But the judge remained unconvinced after giving careful consideration to the arguments from the attorneys and the psychiatrist they had hired to evaluate Roof.
Though the judge made clear that he had determined Roof to be mentally competent to stand trial, he nevertheless sealed his own findings out of regard for the possibility that releasing them to the public could jeopardize the ability of Roof to receive a fair trial.
The decision means Roof will not be able to escape justice by claiming to be mentally ill and unfit to stand trial.
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