(CN) - A federal judge on Monday delayed the final stage of jury selection in the trial of a man accused of killing nine in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said in court that a motion from defendant Dylann Roof and his defense team required his immediate attention.
The hearing on the motion was closed to the public and Gergel said he would not reveal what was discussed.
Roof is accused of opening fire on participants of a Wednesday night Bible study class at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015.
In addition to the nine people that died, another three were wounded.
Roof told investigators he picked the church because he wanted to start a race war. Roof is white, his victims were black. He faces trial in both state and federal court.
The federal case includes 33 charges: nine counts of violating the Hate Crime Act resulting in death; three counts of violating the Hate Crime Act involving an attempt to kill; nine counts of obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death; three counts of obstruction of exercise of religion involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon; nine counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence.
He could be sentenced the death. Charleston County Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said she will also seek the death penalty in the state case.
About 3,000 people received jury summonses for the trial. Opening statements in the trial are not expected before late November or early December.
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