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Judge rules jury will mull case of church shooting suspect

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A jury, not a judge, will consider hate crimes and other federal charges against the man charged in the shooting deaths of nine parishioners at a South Carolina church.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled Monday that jurors will determine the guilt or innocence of Dylann Roof in his federal trial. If he’s convicted, a jury will also hear arguments on a possible death sentence.

Roof’s lawyers had requested a bench trial. Earlier Monday, prosecutors filed papers opposing a bench trial.

The 22-year-old Roof faces the charges in connection to the June 17 shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. The trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 7.

His trial on nine counts of murder in state court is set for January.

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