Justice took a step forward for the nine Black people gunned down last year in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Jury selection began on Monday in the federal trial of Dylann Roof, a professed White supremacist charged in the murders of the Charleston, South Carolina parishioners, the Daily Mail reports.
Roof, 22, faces 33 federal charges in connection with the mass shooting. Separately, he also faces numerous state charges, including nine counts of murder.
More than 3,000 potential jurors received summonses. A first set of about 300 reported on Monday, in groups of 80, for a first round of questioning. Attorneys for both sides will ultimately narrow the pool to just 12 jurors and six alternates.
Roof avoided eye contact and expressed no emotions during the court’s examination of the first 80 potential jurors, ABC News 4 reported. However, the news outlet said he appeared “more relaxed, even smiling and laughing with his attorneys” later in the day, when the third set appeared in the courtroom.
The accused mass shooter faces the death penalty in both the federal and state trials. Roof’s attorneys said their client would plead guilty and accept a life sentence if the government agrees not to seek capital punishment, according to The Mail.
Opening arguments are expected to begin in late November and last for several weeks.