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Large Jury Pool Call for Church Shooting Case

(CN) - A jury pool of 600 people will be summoned for the trial of a white man accused of shooting nine people to death in a historic black church in downtown Charleston last year.

The state of South Carolina is seeking the death penalty for Dylann Roof, 21, who has been charged with nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder, in addition to a weapons change. His state trial is currently scheduled to begin on July 11.

Roof has also been indicted on 33 federal charges, including nine murder charges and three attempted murder charges under the Shepard-Byrd Act, a federal hate crime law signed in 2009 that expanded hate crime motivations to include race, gender, or disability.

Nine murder charges and three attempted murder charges were also filed under another federal law that makes attacking someone based on their religion a hate crime.

On Wednesday, Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson issued an order stating that the large jury pool is needed because of the complexity of the case.

Nicholson also ordered that the questionnaires to be used to screen those potential juror be sealed until late June, when jury selection gets under way.

The opposing attorneys now have until Feb. 15 to propose or oppose questions the potential members of the jury will be asked before they are empaneled or rejected.

All pre-trial motions from the attorneys must be filed by June 14.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.

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