CHARLESTON, S.C. — A judge on Wednesday delayed Dylann Roof’s death penalty trial until 2017 because the defendant’s psychiatric evaluation has not been completed, according to the Charleston Post and Courier.
Roof, 22, of Eastover, S.C., is accused of killing nine people in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on June 17, 2015.
Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson said he felt “obligated” to approve the defense’s request for a continuance based on a doctor’s report, the Post and Courier reported.
Roof would face a penalty phase if convicted of murder. Much of the evidence his lawyers still seek would help them fight for a life sentence.
One of Roof’s lawyers told Nicholson it was not a delay tactic and that they want to go to trial but have to do it step by step.
Roof’s trial date was rescheduled for Jan. 17, 2017, with jury qualification scheduled to start on Dec. 6.