Dylann Roof will not call witnesses as jury mulls death penalty

Hearing scheduled Wednesday for Dylann Roof

Gergel told Roof that he advised against the man's decision to offer no evidence and represent himself, but said that he would continue to allow the man to provide a defense or reappoint his attorneys until the penalty phase of the trial begins.

"At this point I'm not intending to offer any evidence at all or call any witnesses", Roof said as he addressed the judge, adding that he made that statement for the benefit of assistant USA attorneys who are pursuing the death penalty against him.

"As far as I know, I am not intending to offer any evidence at all or call any witnesses whatsoever", Roof told US Judge Richard Gergel in a Charleston courtroom, The Post and Courier reported.

Roof appeared at the hearing in his striped gray jail jumpsuit, handcuffed and shackled at the ankles.

Roof's legal team has indicated in earlier court filings he was reluctant to introduce testimony about his mental health and family history.

Based on notebooks found in his auto and elsewhere, Roof wrote of being moved by the killing of Trayvon Martin in which he sided with the black teen's killer, George Zimmerman. His former lead attorney, David Bruck, sat in the lead attorney's chair at the defense table. The government is hoping to send Roof to death row.

At least 140 buildings on fire in wind-swept blaze in Japan
Niigata Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Honshu on the coast of the Sea of Japan. Smoke rises from houses and buildings during the fire. "I've never seen something like this before".

Following those proceedings, Gergel determined Roof could represent himself, but the evidence that was presented has not been disclosed.

On Wednesday, he was in court for a scheduled hearing.

Courts typically make public the competency hearings after a criminal proceeding has closed, Gergel said.

Roof faces two trials in which the death penalty is an option, something considered almost unprecedented in the modern era.

Prosecuting U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson told Gergel he plans to have about 30 witnesses testify during the sentencing phase of the trial, though some may change their mind as the time approaches.

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