About a week ago, a federal judge declared that Dylann Roof was competent to stand trial for allegedly murdering nine people in the Charleston Church shootings. He almost immediately filed a motion to represent himself, which U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel astutely informed him was a “strategically unwise” move. Well, Roof (or someone close to him) has thought the matter over, and now he’d like his attorneys back, please.
USA Today obtained a copy of Roof’s newest letter to the court, which went public on Sunday afternoon. He’s requesting for his attorneys to return but only until the penalty phase of his trial:
“I would like to ask if my lawyers can represent me for the guilt phase of the trial only. Can you let me have them back for the guilt phase, and them let me represent myself for the sentencing phase of the trial? If you would allow that, then that is what I would like to do.”
Gergel had previously asked Roof to reconsider his decision despite how court documents revealed that he and his attorneys disagreed over how to present a mystery piece of evidence. Roof has taken the judge’s advice, but he clearly wants to retain some control over his fate in the event that he should be declared guilty of multiple counts of murder.
Roof, who allegedly conducted internet research on historically black churches before carrying out the massacre at Mother Emanuel Church, previously asked the court to declare the death penalty unconstitutional. His unearthed manifesto and photos revealed white supremacist beliefs.