Judge sets rules for Roof’s courtroom movements

Dylann Storm Roof
FILE -In this June 18, 2015 file photo, Charleston, S.C., shooting suspect Dylann Storm Roof is escorted from the Cleveland County Courthouse in Shelby, N.C. A jail clerk made a mistake when entering information about a drug arrest for church shooting suspect Roof, the first in a series of missteps that allowed Roof to purchase a gun he shouldn't have been able to buy two months before the attack, authorities said. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A judge has issued an order governing Dylann Roof’s movement within the federal courtroom where he’ll be acting as his own lawyer during sentencing.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel on Monday ruled that Roof can’t approach witnesses or the jury during court, set to get underway on Tuesday. He’ll also be sitting in a chair furthest from the jury and victims’ family members.

The same jury that last month found Roof guilty of 33 federal charges is set to return to court Tuesday to begin weighing if he should be sentenced to life in prison or death for the June 2015 slayings of nine black parishioners during a Charleston church Bible study.

Gergel’s order was published online as he conducted a closed hearing on Roof’s competency. Media outlets including The Associated Press argued it should be open to the public, but the judge said he feared Roof may not get a fair trial if jurors knew of what was discussed.

READ: Complete order restricting movement at trial