The trial for a man accused of massacring nine people at a historic African-American church in South Carolina has been moved to early 2017.
A judge in Charleston County on Wednesday moved the trial of Dylann Roof to January 17 at the request of Roof’s defense lawyers.
The trial had been scheduled to start in July. Roof’s attorneys field a motion earlier this month saying they needed more time to prepare their case.
Roof, 22, is accused of shooting participants of a Bible study class at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, known as Mother Emanuel, in downtown Charleston on June 17, 2015.
Among the victims was the church’s pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who also was a state senator.
Roof, who is white, is charged with murder. Charleston County Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said last year that she will seek the death penalty.
He also is charged with 33 federal offenses, including hate crime charges for allegedly targeting his victims on the basis of their race and religion. It isn’t clear yet when a federal trial would begin.
Roof, a high school dropout not known for violence, was captured in North Carolina the day after the shootings. He confessed in interviews with the Charleston police and FBI, two law enforcement officials told CNN. He also told investigators he wanted to start a race war, one of those officials said.