RELIGION

The Latest: Final jury selection begins in Dylann Roof case

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

9:40 a.m.

The final phase of jury selection is underway in the death-penalty trial of Dylann Roof, the white man accused of gunning down nine black parishioners during a Bible study at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, last year.

Roof faces 33 charges in federal court, including hate crimes and obstruction of religion. Federal prosecutors say he spoke of starting a race war when he shot the parishioners at Emanuel AME Church. State prosecutors plan a second death penalty trial on nine murder charges next year.

The federal jury selection process began last summer when about 3,000 potential jurors received jury summonses. After filling out questionnaires and being questioned by attorneys, that pool has now been reduced to 67 people.

Attorneys are using juror strikes Wednesday to select the final panel of 12 jurors and six alternates who'll hear the case.

Opening statements are scheduled for later in the day.

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3:50 a.m.

The death penalty trial for a white man who said he wanted to start a race war by killing black people in their South Carolina church is set to begin.

Jury selection and opening statements are scheduled for Wednesday in Dylann Roof's federal death penalty trial in Charleston.

The city is already bruised by a former police officer's racially charged murder trial that ended in a hung jury Monday.

But Roof's trial shouldn't be so hard fought. His lawyers have offered for Roof to plead guilty several times if prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty.

Authorities say Roof killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015 after spending an hour with them in Bible study.