Dylann Roof granted request to represent himself in trial

Updated: Nov. 28, 2016 at 11:15 AM EST
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Accused Mother Emanuel AME shooter Dylann Roof will represent himself in the trial of nine slain African-American parishioners last June.

Roof, who was declared mentally competent to stand trial last week, said he had the capacity represent himself in the federal trial, just as jury selection was about to resume after a delay for a competency hearing.

Roof requested he be allowed represent himself before the prospective jurors were brought into the courtroom Monday.

RELATED: Read the live blog of the trial.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel, meanwhile, told Roof he believed it would be in the suspect's best interest to have counsel.

"I think it is wise for you to be represented by counsel," Gergel said.

Despite that, Gergel granted Roof permission to represent himself in the trial. However, Roof will allow his former counsel to remain in stand-by and to sit next to him during trial.

Roof's renowned death penalty attorney, David Bruck, moved over and Roof took the seat closest to the aisle -- directly across from Prosecutor Jay Richardson, who's hoping to send Roof to death row.

RELATED: See photos of the Emanuel AME Nine.

After Gergel granted Roof's request, prospective jurors were brought into the courtroom.

Roof faces charges in both federal and state courts for the murders of nine people at Emanuel AME church in June 2015. If convicted, he could get the death penalty.

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