Some 748 prospective jurors in the upcoming Dylann Roof federal death penalty trial have been picked to go on to a second, more intensive, phase of jury screening that will begin Nov. 7.
The 748 who survived the initial screening process this week were picked over a 2 1/2 day period that began Monday in a small federal courtroom in Charleston.
About 3,000 were initially summoned for this week's screening process. Federal Judge Richard Gergel had said he would like to come up with a pool of 700 potential jurors.
This week's screening went faster than expected. By around noon Wednesday, the court had surpassed that goal and wound up with 748 - a number that should be more than enough to produce a final jury panel of 12 jurors and 6 alternates.
Reasons some potential jurors were excused this week included child care or work-related duties.
The 748 who survived the initial screening this week have filled out extensive questionnaires about their lives and any reservations they might have about being deciding on a death penalty, should Roof eventually be found guilty and the trial move on to a sentencing phase.
Between now and Nov. 7, prosecutors and Roof's defense attorneys will study the completed questionnaires. From those, lawyers will develop additional questions and submit them to Gergel, who will then, beginning Nov. 7, question the prospective jurors 1 at a time as attorneys watch and possibly submit more questions.
Roof, 22, a white supremacist from Columbia, is charged with various federal hate crimes and obstruction of religion resulting in death in the June 2015 gun slayings of 9 African-Americans at a Charleston's historic "Mother" AME Emanuel Church.
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