RELIGION

The Latest: Judge refuses to delay Dylann Roof's trial

  • FILE- In this Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 file photo, Michael Slager, at right, walks from the Charleston County Courthouse under the protection from the Charleston County Sheriff's Department after a mistrial was declared for his trial in Charleston, S.C. Relatives of Walter Scott, the black motorist fatally shot while fleeing a traffic stop, say they are confident justice will prevail even though a South Carolina jury could not reach a verdict in the murder trial of a white former police officer charged in his death. (AP Photo/Mic Smith, File)

    FILE- In this Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 file photo, Michael Slager, at right, walks from the Charleston County Courthouse under the protection from the Charleston County Sheriff's Department after a mistrial was declared for his trial in Charleston, S.C. Relatives of Walter Scott, the black motorist fatally shot while fleeing a traffic stop, say they are confident justice will prevail even though a South Carolina jury could not reach a verdict in the murder trial of a white former police officer charged in his death. (AP Photo/Mic Smith, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Defense attorneys Andy Savage, left, Don McCune, and Miller Shealy, right, sit around former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager at theCharleston County court in Charleston, S.C., Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. Judge Clifton Newman declared a mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Slager was charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist. (Grace Beahm/Post and Courier via AP, Pool)

    Defense attorneys Andy Savage, left, Don McCune, and Miller Shealy, right, sit around former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager at theCharleston County court in Charleston, S.C., Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. Judge Clifton Newman declared a mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Slager was charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist. (Grace Beahm/Post and Courier via AP, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, file photo, Judy Scott, center, Walter Scott's mother, is comforted by her son Rodney Scott, as the family attorneys, Chris Stewart, left, and Justin Bamberg, right, hold a press conference after a mistrial was declared in the Michael Slager trial Monday Dec. 5, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. Relatives of Walter Scott, the black motorist fatally shot while fleeing a traffic stop, say they are confident justice will prevail even though a South Carolina jury could not reach a verdict in the murder trial of a white former police officer charged in his death.
 (AP Photo/Mic Smith, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, file photo, Judy Scott, center, Walter Scott's mother, is comforted by her son Rodney Scott, as the family attorneys, Chris Stewart, left, and Justin Bamberg, right, hold a press conference after a mistrial was declared in the Michael Slager trial Monday Dec. 5, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. Relatives of Walter Scott, the black motorist fatally shot while fleeing a traffic stop, say they are confident justice will prevail even though a South Carolina jury could not reach a verdict in the murder trial of a white former police officer charged in his death. (AP Photo/Mic Smith, File)  (The Associated Press)

The Latest on the trial of Dylann Roof charged with killing nine people in a Charleston church (all times local):

6:50 p.m.

A federal judge has refused to delay jury selection and opening statements in the death penalty trial of Dylann Roof in the killings of nine people in a Charleston church.

Roof's lawyers said the publicity surrounding the mistrial in former police officer Michel Slager's murder case in the courthouse across the street might influence Roof's jurors.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel called the request "utterly farfetched and illogical" in a ruling handed down hours after the defense motion was filed Tuesday.

Gergel wrote that a 45-item questionnaire and extensive in-person questioning last week assured him all 67 people in the jury pool are fair and impartial.

Both Slager's case and Roof's case have centered on race. They are white and the people killed were black.

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3:55 p.m.

Lawyers for Dylann Roof want to delay picking a jury in his federal death penalty trial because of the publicity surrounding the mistrial in a former police officer's case.

Roof's lawyers filed the request Tuesday. Jury selection is expected to start Wednesday in Charleston, where a mistrial was declared earlier this week for former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager.

Roof's attorneys say if U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel goes forward, he at least needs to question the jury pool extensively about their opinions in the Slager case.

Race plays a central role in both cases. Slager, who is white, shot and killed a fleeing, unarmed black driver.

Roof is charged with killing nine people at an African-American church in June 2015.