Judge denies defense request to take over for Dylann Roof

CHARLESTON, S.C.  The judge in Dylann Roof’s federal trial has denied a defense request to represent Roof during the rest of the sentencing phase instead of Roof representing himself.

Roof was convicted last month on all charges in the 2015 Charleston church massacre. He faces the death penalty or life in prison.

Before the sentencing phase got underway Thursday, the defense expressed concern about the number of witnesses and the length of time they would testify.

Prosecutors had planned to call 38 witnesses to the stand during the sentencing phase, but now say that’s unlikely to happen.

Denise Quarles is one of the witnesses who took the stand Thursday. She is the daughter of Myra Thompson, one of the nine people killed at Mother Emanuel AME Church. She spoke about how she and her mother would text and call each other four times a day.

She gave incredibly vivid testimony and spoke about a dream she had about her mother dying. Roof did not cross examine her.

Roof is representing himself during the sentencing phase and said he does not plan to call any witnesses or present any evidence.

Testimony is expected to wrap up next week.