COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Federal court Judge Richard Gergel unsealed dozens of new documents Tuesday related to Dylann Roof's federal trial.
Many of the documents related to Roof's mental competency remained under wraps even after the Columbia man was given the death penalty earlier this year for the June 2015 massacre inside a Charleston church.
One of the new documents is a letter Roof wrote to prosecutors last November blasting his court-appointed attorneys.
"I can assure you that this is the sneakiest group of people I have ever met, and words cant (sic) express how slick they are in their lies," Roof wrote in the letter.
Roof wrote that those lawyers were using "scare tactics, threats, manipulation, and outright lies" to make Roof's mental health a topic of his case.
"I only found out they would be presenting a mental health defense a few days prior to writing this letter," Roof wrote in November. "Because I have no real defense, my lawyers have been forced to grasp at straws and to present a pathetic, fraudulent excuse for a defense in my name. They have regularly told me in an aggressive manner that I have no say in my own defense, that my input doesn't matter, and that there is nothing I can do about it."
According to another unsealed document, prosecutors forwarded the letter to the judge.
In another document, Roof's attorneys responded to the letter and asked for a delay in court proceedings because of the suddenly strained relationship between them and their client.
"This crystallized for us that the defendant does not trust us and that his lack of trust is not just driven by his mental illness (or, for that matter, his feelings about mental illness) but is a foundation of his incompetence," Roof's attorneys wrote.
In that filing, they also wrote about why Roof was pushing against having his mental health examined in court.
"We are now faced with a client who would rather die than be labeled mentally ill or neuro-developmentally impaired, and who would rather communicate and ally himself with those who propose to execute him than with us," the attorneys wrote. "We remind the Court that these are not logical preferences, but appear to be based on the irrational belief that being labeled mentally impaired will affect the defendants' standing with some hypothetical white nationalists whom the defendant has never met or communicated with – and cannot even name – but whom he believes may appoint him to a high government position some day."
Roof was ultimately found guilty in December, and jurors chose to give him the death penalty in January. During his federal trial, Roof represented himself during jury selection and during the penalty phase.
He pleaded guilty to 13 state charges on Monday.
WIS will continue to report on developments in the newly unsealed documents as those documents become available online.
You can view the letter here.