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Dylann Roof prosecutors won't agree to trial by judge

By Allen Cone
Dylann Roof, the defendant in the mass shooting that left nine dead at a historic Charleston, South Carolina, church appears before a judge on June 19, 2015. His desire to have his fate decided by a judge was rejected by federal proseutors. File/Pool/UPI
Dylann Roof, the defendant in the mass shooting that left nine dead at a historic Charleston, South Carolina, church appears before a judge on June 19, 2015. His desire to have his fate decided by a judge was rejected by federal proseutors. File/Pool/UPI

COLUMBIA, S.C., June 13 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors won't agree with defendant Dylann Roof's desire to have his fate in the mass shooting case determined by a judge.

In a filing Monday, they said Roof's "guilty and appropriate punishment" in last year's shooting in Charleston, S.C, should be determined by a 12-member jury.

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Last week in its own filing, Roof's defense attorneys said they wanted U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel to determine his fate.

Prosecutors and the judge must agree to such a move.

"The government advises the court that it does not consent and, instead, respectfully requests that a jury determine the defendant's guilt and appropriate punishment," Richardson said in the document.

Jury qualification will begin on Nov. 7, according to the judge.

A jury first would decide whether Roof is guilty of the crimes. If a jury convicts him of using a firearm in violating the victims' religious freedoms, the jurors will decide whether he should be executed. It's a death sentence only if all 12 approve.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

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Roof is charged with 33 federal counts in the June 17 attack that killed nine black parishioners at the Charleston church.

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