More than one year after 22-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof claimed the lives of nine Black church members when he opened fire during an Emanuel AME Bible study session in Charleston, South Carolina last June, jurors are being selected for his federal trial.
The Associated Press reports that Roof was present in the courtroom on Monday as some 320 potential jurors appeared in four groups of 80 to begin the roll call process.
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The admitted murderer avoided eye contact with those involved in the selection process and sat with his attorneys for the duration of the day in the court.
Following the initial screening process, 700 potential jurors will be chosen for individual questioning by the presiding judge on November 7.
From there, 70 potential jurors will be selected and the attorneys connected to the case will have the opportunity to approve of or dismiss people based on a short list of general jury selection criteria. Potential jurors may also be excused by the judge for various reasons, including being over the age of 70, having a lack of available child care for young children, or having served on a federal jury in the past two years.
Prosecution and defense attorneys are allowed to stop the selection process once they can agree on 12 jurors and six alternates for the jury panel.
Roof faces 33 federal charges for the Emanuel A.M.E. Church killings and an additional 9 murder charges in a separate state court trial that will begin next year. Federal trial testimony will begin just after Thanksgiving and is expected to continue through the holiday season.