A South Carolina state attorney is asking that the state be allowed to prosecute accused Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shooter Dylann Roof before the federal government does, the Associated Press reports.
Claiming that the state has primary jurisdiction over the case, 9th Judicial Circuit solicitor Scarlett Wilson, who will be prosecuting Roof for the state, said Tuesday that the state should thusly be allowed to prosecute Roof before the federal government.
In the state case, Roof, 22, is facing charges of murder and attempted murder for his part in the shooting deaths of nine parishioners last year at a Bible study at the Charleston, S.C., church often referred to as Mother Emanuel. The federal case, in which Roof faces other charges, including hate crimes, is scheduled for November, before the January date set for the state trial.
In documents filed Tuesday, Wilson asked judges to consult on a trial schedule. Although both state and federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Roof if he is convicted, Wilson pointed out that the federal government has not executed a prisoner in 13 years.
If, by chance, Roof is sentenced to death in the federal court first, Wilson said, "The state can have no confidence that the United States will ever seek to carry out a death sentence," AP reports.
Federal prosecutors, in the meantime, have asked the defense what mitigating factors it plans to present during the sentencing phase of Roof's trial. According to AP, mitigating circumstances, such as mental illness, are usually not required to be revealed until after an accused is found guilty, but the government wants the judge to order the defense to reveal any such circumstances by Oct. 1.
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