Judge sets trial for suspect in Charleston church shooting

Dylann Roof is seen in this police booking photo. (Photo: Charleston County Sheriff's Office)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The man accused of killing nine people at a church in Charleston last month will stand trial next July, a judge ruled Thursday.

During a 25-minute hearing in Charleston, Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson set a July 11, 2016, trial date for Dylann Roof.

Public defender Ashley Pennington said he would not seek any bond for Roof, who sat quietly during the proceedings, clad in a gray-striped prison jumpsuit.

Nicholson said he would have denied a request anyway, calling Roof a flight risk, noting he was arrested in Shelby, North Carolina, on July 18, the day after nine black parishioners were shot to death during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Roof, 21, has not entered a plea. He faces multiple charges, including nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.

Federal authorities have not said whether they will pursue hate crime charges against Roof, although Justice Department officials have said they broadly agree the shootings meet the legal requirements for a hate crime.

Attorneys for The Associated Press and other media organizations asked for the release of police records from the investigation.

Nicholson said that the records will not be released before July 22 in order to give prosecutors, defense attorneys and victims’ family members time to object.

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