Dylann Roof to represent self in South Carolina church shooting trial

Dylann Roof

Dylann Roof

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A federal judge has allowed Dylann Roof, the man who is accused of killing nine people at a historically African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, to represent himself in his upcoming trial.

The Post and Courier reports Roof made the request Monday morning during jury selection.

“I do find defendant has the personal capacity to self-representation,” said U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel. “I continue to believe it is strategically unwise, but it is a decision you have the right to make.”

Authorities say Roof, 22, fatally shot participants of a Wednesday night Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015. Three people were wounded.

Roof faces 33 federal charges: nine counts of violating the Hate Crime Act resulting in death; three counts of violating the Hate Crime Act involving an attempt to kill; nine counts of obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death; three counts of obstruction of exercise of religion involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon; and nine counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence.

Jury selection is scheduled to resume Monday and the trial is slated to start in mid-January. Authorities are seeking the death penalty.