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A judge has denied a motion for a mistrial in the case of  Dylann Roof, the shooter who killed nine parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015. Judge Richard Gergel dismissed the motion, saying a comment by a grief-stricken witness was a religious statement, and was not enough to declare a mistrial.

Abraham Belanger, pastor of First Fruits Community Church, described the trial on Friday’s NewsOne Now as an “emotional rollercoaster.” During Thursday’s proceedings, jurors were shown video of Roof entering and leaving Emanuel AME Church, as well as grim images of the crime scene.

Belanger told host Roland Martin that Roof’s attorney David Bruck “immediately filed a motion for a mistrial in this case, which I think is such a great shame to the community of South Carolina knowing the video itself shows Dylann Roof going in with his bag, with multiple magazines and committing the heinous crime.

Some of the victims had over 11 bullet wounds,” he continued. “The video showing him walking out of the church as if it was another day, hopping in his car and going to get a meal at Burger King later on––I just think it was quite heinous and quite disrespectful for that defense lawyer to [motion for a mistrial].”

Pastor Belanger commended the judge: “He is not playing any games with the defense lawyer at this time. He has immediately overruled all of the motions” filed by the defense.

According to Belanger, Bruck filed a motion to keep members of the jury from seeing images of the victims.

“You cannot escape the truth,” he said. “The truth is this man went in there, murdered these nine men and women and caused great harm to not only their families, but our community…

“I’m a man of the robe and of the collar, I certainly believe that justice must be served and it’s good to see that this judge is really sticking to the law.”

Watch Roland Martin, Pastor Belanger and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the Dylann Roof trial in the video clip above.


Watch NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.


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