(CN) – The alleged murderer of nine in a historic black church in Charleston now has two court-appointed federal public defenders, a sign the Department of Justice may soon levy additional charges against him.
Dylann Storm Roof is currently charged with nine counts of murder and one count of unlawful possession of a weapon in South Carolina state court, and could face the death penalty if convicted.
But since shortly after the shootings on June 17 in the midst of a Bible study class at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the U.S. Justice Department has been weighing whether to also filed federal hate crime and terrorism charges against the 21 year old.
In a sign that new charges may be imminent, U.S. Bristow Marchant has appointed Ann Walsh and William Nettles IV, of the Federal Public Defender’s Office to represent the accused murderer. Nettles is with the public defenders Florence, S.C. office; Walsh is assigned to Charleston.
Marchant’s order, issued Monday, states only that Roof is under investigation by federal authorities and is “entitled to the appointment of counsel for this purpose.”
The appointment of the two attorneys is provisional, and Marchant said a permanent appoint will be made in the future if it becomes “necessary or appropriate.”
Court records also suggest that should the Justice Department move forward with federal charges for Roof, his prosecution will be handled by Julius Richardson of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Columbia, and Nathan Stuart Williams, of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Charleston.
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