Documents question Dylann Roof’s competency

FILE - This Thursday, June 18, 2015, file photo, provided by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office shows Dylann Roof. A federal magistrate in Charleston, S.C., entered not guilty pleas on 33 federal charges, Friday, July 31, 2015, including for hate crimes, for Roof, a white man accused of gunning down nine parishioners at a black church in Charleston. (Charleston County Sheriff's Office via AP)
FILE - This Thursday, June 18, 2015, file photo, provided by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office shows Dylann Roof. A federal magistrate in Charleston, S.C., entered not guilty pleas on 33 federal charges, Friday, July 31, 2015, including for hate crimes, for Roof, a white man accused of gunning down nine parishioners at a black church in Charleston. (Charleston County Sheriff's Office via AP)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Newly unsealed court documents in the federal death penalty trial of Dylann Roof indicate the judge believes it’s possible the white man charged with gunning down nine black parishioners in Charleston may not be mentally competent to stand trial.

According to a defense motion unsealed Friday, U.S. Judge Richard Gergel has found “reasonable cause to believe” Roof may be “suffering from a mental disease or defect.”

Gergel ordered another competency exam for Roof this week, one day after halting jury selection because of the defense motion. He will hold a hearing Wednesday. Gergel plans to rule within days whether Roof is competent and, if so, begin jury selection for Roof’s trial Nov. 21.

While the defense motion was unsealed, much of it is redacted.

Roof’s attorneys want the hearing closed.