CHARLESTON, S.C. — A day after a federal jury condemned Dylann S. Roof to death for the massacre of nine churchgoers at a Bible study here, the federal judge who oversaw the trial began to hear from family members during a formal sentencing hearing. Alan Blinder, a New York Times reporter who has covered the trial, is tweeting from the courthouse.
Judge Richard M. Gergel of Federal District Court opened the hearing by saying that the jurors, who reached their death-penalty decision after about three hours of deliberation on Tuesday, had asked the judge to return to the courtroom for the sentencing proceedings.
Judge Gergel also granted a request from Mr. Roof to reappoint his lawyers for the hearing.
Wednesday’s sentencing is a formality; the judge cannot change the jury’s death sentence. Before the sentencing, relatives of the victims of the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church will get a chance to speak directly to Mr. Roof.