South Carolina

Documents question Charleston massacre suspect's competency

  • Officers with the Department of Homeland Security patrol outside the federal courthouse in Charleston, S.C., Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. Jury selection has been postponed in the federal case of Dylann Roof on trial for fatally shooting nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church last year. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said Monday he had a request from Roof's lawyers that demanded the judge's immediate attention and said jury selection will resume Wednesday. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

    Officers with the Department of Homeland Security patrol outside the federal courthouse in Charleston, S.C., Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. Jury selection has been postponed in the federal case of Dylann Roof on trial for fatally shooting nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church last year. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said Monday he had a request from Roof's lawyers that demanded the judge's immediate attention and said jury selection will resume Wednesday. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This June 18, 2015, file photo, provided by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office shows Dylann Roof. Court documents unsealed Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, in the federal death penalty trial of Dylann Roof indicate the judge believes it's possible the white man charged with gunning down nine black parishioners may not be mentally competent to stand trial. (Charleston County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

    FILE - This June 18, 2015, file photo, provided by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office shows Dylann Roof. Court documents unsealed Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, in the federal death penalty trial of Dylann Roof indicate the judge believes it's possible the white man charged with gunning down nine black parishioners may not be mentally competent to stand trial. (Charleston County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

Newly unsealed court documents in the federal death penalty trial of Dylann Roof indicate the judge believes it's possible the white man charged with gunning down nine black parishioners in Charleston may not be mentally competent to stand trial.

According to a defense motion unsealed Friday, U.S. Judge Richard Gergel has found "reasonable cause to believe" Roof may be "suffering from a mental disease or defect."

Gergel ordered another competency exam for Roof this week, one day after halting jury selection because of the defense motion. He will hold a hearing Wednesday. Gergel plans to rule within days whether Roof is competent and, if so, begin jury selection for Roof's trial Nov. 21.

While the defense motion was unsealed, much of it is redacted.

Roof's attorneys want the hearing closed.