Dylann Roof found competent to be tried for hate crimes in Charleston massacre

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A federal court judge in South Carolina ruled Friday that Dylann Roof, the man charged with hate crimes in the June 2015 massacre at a historic black church in Charleston, is competent to stand trial.

According to a statement released by the U.S. District Court for South Carolina, Judge Richard Gergel announced the decision in relation to the shooting deaths of nine worshippers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Jury selection is scheduled to resume on Monday, the court's statement said.

Last week, Gergel decided Roof's competency hearing would be closed to the public and that the contents of the court-appointed psychiatric examiner's report would be sealed, at least until after the judge could make a ruling.

SOUTH CAROLINA-SHOOTING/Photo: Reuters

Two weeks ago, Roof's defense filed a motion to halt jury selection to have their client's psychiatric condition evaluated.

Authorities allege Roof, who has professed white nationalist ideologies, targeted the Emanuel AME in Charleston, where members were holding a bible study meeting with the church's pastor, because the parishioners were black. In July 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice alleged in court that Roof committed hate crimes.

Roof, 22, is also charged with using a firearm related to his interference with the parishioners' exercise of religion, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement. If convicted, Roof could face the death penalty.

Roof's defense team has previously suggested that he would plead guilty to the charges if the feds took the death penalty off the table.

16 PHOTOS
Charleston SC shooting suspect. Dylann Roof
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Charleston SC shooting suspect. Dylann Roof
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
This image has been provided by the Charleston Police Department, Thursday, June 18, 2015. A man opened fire during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston, S.C., Wednesday night, June 17, 2015, killing nine people, including the pastor in an assault that authorities are calling a hate crime. The shooter remained at large Thursday. (Photo via Charleston Police Department)
The Emanuel AME Church is viewed behind a police vehicle on June 18, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina, after a mass shooting at the Church on the evening of June 17, 2015. US police on Thursday arrested a 21-year-old white gunman suspected of killing nine people at a prayer meeting in one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston, an attack being probed as a hate crime. The shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the southeastern US city was one of the worst attacks on a place of worship in the country in recent years, and comes at a time of lingering racial tensions. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer holds up a tape in front of the Emanuel AME Church June 18, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina, after a mass shooting at the church on the evening of June 17, 2015. US police on Thursday arrested a 21-year-old white gunman suspected of killing nine people at a prayer meeting in one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston, an attack being probed as a hate crime. The shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the southeastern US city was one of the worst attacks on a place of worship in the country in recent years, and comes at a time of lingering racial tensions. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A view ofthe Emanuel AME Church is seen June 18, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina, after a mass shooting at the church on the evening of June 17, 2015. US police on Thursday arrested a 21-year-old white gunman suspected of killing nine people at a prayer meeting in one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston, an attack being probed as a hate crime. The shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the southeastern US city was one of the worst attacks on a place of worship in the country in recent years, and comes at a time of lingering racial tensions. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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