The final phase of jury selection for the trial of 22-year-old Dylann Roof at the federal court has been postponed until Wednesday. He is accused of shooting nine black members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston in June 2015.
District Judge Richard Gergel said at the Monday hearing that he received a request from Roof's lawyers to appoint a jury that will ensure a fair and unbiased trial.
Roof is indicted with 33 counts of hate crimes, obstructing religion, committing violent crime using a firearm during a Bible study session.
The jury selection began in September when about 700 people filled out questionnaires. On Monday, some 500 participants in the process were to report to the court to be probed and interviewed by the judge. The court will pick 70 qualified jurors, out of whom several will be left out and only twelve will hear the testimony along with six other alternative jurors.
Court records reveal that Roof will plead guilty if death penalty is dropped by the federal court.
Federal prosecutors have sought death penalty against him. They said that Roof planned the church attack for months, and appeared to show no remorse. He wrote a racist manifestos and posed with a confederate flag before killing the church members.
During the first of the Roof's court hearings, many relatives of the victims offered tearful forgiveness to Roof.
In August, Roof was attacked by a black inmate at the South Carolina prison where he is being held. When he was in shower, another prisoner Dwayne Stafford came out of his cell and ran downstairs towards the common area and hit him in his face and back.
Roof was given a medical examination and then sent back to his cell. He and his attorneys did not press any charges against Stafford.
If he is convicted, his trial could extend for several months. He will undergo another trial at state court where he also faces death sentence.