On Tuesday a federal judge said that he has ordered an evaluation into whether accused mass killer Dylann Roof was competent to stand trial for the shooting deaths of nine parishioners at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., last year, Reuters reports.
According to the newswire, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel also postponed jury selection—which was meant to begin again Wednesday after Election Day—until Nov. 21 to allow time to settle the question of competency.
“The court is mindful that this delay in jury selection may be disappointing to some, but it is the court’s duty to conduct a fair trial and follow procedures which protect the legal rights of the defendant,” Gergel said in his order. The judge said that he would rule on Roof’s competency by Nov. 18 following a hearing on the issue.
Roof currently faces 33 federal counts of hate crimes, obstruction of religion and using a firearm in a violent crime after the June 2015 attack on Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Roof also faces the death sentence in a state murder trial that is scheduled for next year.
Read more at Reuters.