Church shoot­ing sus­pect al­lowed to act as own at­tor­ney

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

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.

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