Defense focuses on penalty, not guilt in church shooting

Members of the defense team arrive at the federal courthouse in Charleston, S.C., Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. Jury selection has been postponed in the federal case of Dylann Roof on trial for fatally shooting nine black members at Emanuel AME Church last year. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said Monday he had a request from Roof's lawyers that demanded the judge's immediate attention and said jury selection will resume Wednesday. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – The attorneys defending Dylann Roof in the Charleston church shooting trial are largely conceding his guilt in the shooting deaths of nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church last year. Their attention is on keeping their client out of the death chamber.

Roof’s federal death penalty trial on 33 counts, including hate crimes, enters a second day Thursday.

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof

Roof’s defense attorney David Bruck told the jurors as the trial opened there’s not a lot the defense can dispute in the guilt or innocence phase of the trial. The real question, he said, is whether the 22-year-old Roof spends the rest of his life in prison or is executed.

Bruck said the defense may not present any defense witnesses in the guilt phase of the trial and won’t have many questions for those the prosecution calls.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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