Church Shooting Suspect’s Friend to Plead to Lying

     (CN) – Joey Meek, a friend of the white man accused of gunning down nine black parishioners in a Charleston, S.C., church last year pleaded guilty on Monday to lying to authorities and failing to report the crime.
     Prosecutors said Joey Meek failed to tell investigators everything he knew about Dylann Roof’s plans to shoot black parishioners at the Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston in June 2015.
     Three months later, in Sept. 2015, federal grand jury indicted him on charges of having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony hate crime and taking steps to conceal what he knew.
     Meek’s plea was filed Monday morning in the Columbia, S.C. Federal Court. He has agreed to plead guilty to two counts, “misprision of a felony” and “making a false statement.”
     He now faces a sentence of up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release and a special assessment of $100.
     Meek’s case was scheduled to go to trial on July 8 in Charleston. The court has not set a date for his sentencing.
     On April 14, Charleston County Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson granted a request by Roof’s court-appointed lawyers for a delay their client’s state death penalty trial
     Roof was scheduled to be tried on nine state murder charges, three attempted murder charges and a firearms charge on July 11.
     A federal grand jury also indicted Roof on 33 federal charges, but U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel had put off the scheduling of a trial in his court to allow the state case to proceed first.
     Roof’s new state trial date is Jan. 17, 2017, with jury selection to begin in early December.

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