Jury selection halted in Charleston church shooting

This photo provided by Charleston County Sheriff's Office shows Dylann Roof, Thursday, June 18, 2015. (Charleston County Sheriff's Office via AP)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Jury selection has been postponed in the federal case of a white man on trial for fatally shooting nine black parishioners at a Charleston, South Carolina, church last year.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel opened Monday’s scheduled jury selection phase by saying he had a request from the lawyers for 22-year-old Dylann Roof that required the judge’s immediate attention.

Gergel said the request had to do with Roof’s right to a fair and impartial jury and trial. He set an 11 a.m. hearing Monday and said prosecutors and the public would be excluded.

He said jury selection will begin Wednesday.

Roof is charged with hate crimes, obstruction of religion and other counts in the shootings at Emanuel AME Church. It’s the first of two death penalty trials Roof faces.

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