Judge Denies Mistrial Request In Charleston Church Slayings


A federal judge has denied a defense request for a mistrial in Dylann Roof’s trial in the Charleston church shooting.

Judge Richard Gergel said Thursday that a survivor’s testimony about Roof belonging “in the pit of hell” was not a statement on what his sentence should be. The judge told attorneys he interpreted Felicia Sanders testimony as “a religious comment.”

The judge instructed jurors that any decision on guilt or a sentence is up to the jury — not the attorneys or witnesses in the case.

Roof is on trial for hate crimes and other counts in the June 2015 shootings of nine black parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The defense, in a motion Thursday, asked for a mistrial saying that Sanders’ testimony suggested a sentence. Sanders also called Roof evil during her testimony.

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