Church shooting suspect allowed to act as own attorney
The white man accused of fatally shooting nine black parishioners at a church was allowed Monday to act as his own attorney, opening the door to courtroom spectacles at his death penalty trial, including Dylann Roof questioning survivors of the attack and relatives of the dead.
Roof’s decision to represent himself comes months after he offered to plead guilty in exchange for the promise of life in prison. But federal prosecutors have refused to take the death penalty off the table in the slayings at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Until now, Roof has been represented by one of the nation’s most respected capital defenders.
He joins a long line of high-profile defendants who acted as their own attorneys, often with poor results. Serial killer Ted Bundy, Beltway sniper John Allen Muhammed and Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 people at the Fort Hood military base in Texas, ended up with death sentences.