- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 4, 2017

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The Latest on the federal sentencing of Dylann Roof in the deaths of nine people at a South Carolina church (all times local):

6 p.m.

A federal judge has agreed with Dylann Roof that two pieces of evidence submitted by prosecutors shouldn’t be introduced in court.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel sustained a rare objection by Roof on Wednesday. It’s not clear what the photos were of.

The objection came at the end of more than an hour of testimony by the Rev. Anthony Thompson, who cried as he talked about future plans he had made with his wife. Myra Thompson was one of the nine people slain by Roof during Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015.

Roof didn’t ask any questions of any of the four witnesses put up by government attorneys on Wednesday. He is representing himself and has said he plans to put up no case in an attempt to save his life as jurors contemplate if he should be executed for his crimes or get life in prison.

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5 p.m.

The widower of a woman killed at Emanuel AME Church says his wife was a dedicated person of faith who did her best to enjoy life.

The Rev. Anthony Thompson cried in court Wednesday as he described a conversation with his wife, Myra, about their future plans to move and pursue studies and careers in the church. Thompson broke down briefly as he talked about his disbelief that she’s not alive to share in them.

Thompson testified during sentencing proceedings for convicted church shooter Dylann Roof. The 22-year-old white man has said he plans to put up no case to potentially save his life and told jurors in a brief opening statement that he has no psychological problems.

Roof was convicted of hate crimes and other charges in the deaths of nine black church members in 2015.

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4:10 p.m.

A colleague of slain state senator Clementa Pinckney says the preacher and legislator was an eloquent speaker who could simplify the most complex subjects and always had something quality to say.

State Sen. Gerald Malloy testified Wednesday that Pinckney was “the future of the Senate” and got so much done it seemed he had more hours in the day than other people. Prosecutors played a video showing Pinckney standing at the pulpit of Emanuel AME Church, talking about the church’s history and place in the community.

Malloy was the third witness called by prosecutors in the sentencing phase of Dylann Roof’s trial. Earlier Wednesday, Pinckney’s widow testified about the night of the June 2015 shootings at the church and described her husband as a thoughtful, patient father and dedicated public servant.

Roof is representing himself and has not asked any questions on cross-examination. In a brief opening statement, he told jurors he has no psychological problems.

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3 p.m.

A lifelong friend of the pastor and state senator slain at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston says Clementa Pinckney was determined to grow the church and wasn’t afraid to work hard to do it.

The Rev. Kylon Middleton testified Wednesday that his friend never forgot his roots and always worked to made conditions better for his congregants. Middleton also said Pinckney viewed his public service as an elected official the same way.

Middleton was the second witness called by prosecutors seeking the death penalty against convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof. He testified after Jennifer Pinckney took the stand for more than two hours, telling jurors about her dynamic husband and describing in chilling detail how she comforted her daughter as they hid inside the church during the shooting.

Roof is representing himself during the sentencing phase. He has said he did not plan to present a case and has not cross-examined any witnesses.

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2:30 p.m.

The widow of a pastor and state senator slain by Dylann Roof is describing for jurors the night the white man killed her husband and eight other black church members.

Jennifer Pinckney testified Wednesday that she was in her husband’s office with their daughter when she heard gunshots. She says she locked the door and shoved her daughter under a desk. She put her hand over her daughter’s mouth and told her to be quiet.

Pinckney was the first witness called to testify during the sentencing phase of Roof’s trial. Jurors are deciding whether to send him to prison for life or to death.

Roof is representing himself during the sentencing phase. He told jurors earlier that there is nothing wrong with psychologically. He didn’t offer any remorse for the killings or explain his motivations.

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11:40 a.m.

The widow of a pastor and state senator slain by Dylann Roof says her husband was a selfless student of faith and history who was drawn to serving both his congregation and the public.

Jennifer Pinckney was the first witness prosecutors called Wednesday in Roof’s sentencing trial. She also shed light on her husband’s goofy personal side, saying he loved to sing, dance and watch children’s shows with his two young daughters.

Clementa Pinckney pastored Emanuel AME Church and was among the nine people killed there in June 2015. His widow says Pinckney was “a voice for the voiceless” and never stopped working to find solutions for his flock and constituents.

Prosecutors have said they’ll call several dozen witnesses to testify during Roof’s sentencing. Jurors are considering if he’ll be sentenced to death or life in prison. Roof, who is representing himself, has said he plans to put up no case.

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10:50 a.m.

Convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof did not ask jurors to spare his life or for the death penalty during his brief opening statement at his sentencing trial.

The soft-spoken Roof told jurors Wednesday that there is nothing wrong with him psychologically and that his lawyers forced him to go through two competency hearings.

He stood at a podium and slowly and calmly spoke to the jurors, glancing occasionally at notes in front of him. He told jurors there wasn’t anything he was trying to keep secret from them and said he was better at embarrassing himself than anyone else.

Roof’s lawyers indicated he wanted to represent himself because he was worried they might present embarrassing evidence about him or his family.

Prosecutors asked jurors to sentence Roof to death, saying the “horrific acts” of killing nine black church members in June 2015 deserved capital punishment. The prosecutors say Roof didn’t show any remorse, and they read a portion from a journal found in Roof’s jail cell six weeks after his arrest. In the journal, Roof said he had not wept for any of the victims and did not regret what he did.

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10:20 a.m.

Federal prosecutors say convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof should be sentenced to death because he killed nine black parishioners because of the color of their skin.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams gave the government’s opening statement Wednesday during Roof’s sentencing, calling the killings “horrific acts.” The same jurors who convicted Roof last month are now being asked to decide whether he should face life in prison or the death penalty.

Williams said Roof has felt no remorse for the June 2015 killings at Emanuel AME Church and he intentionally picked vulnerable, trusting people to slaughter.

Roof, who is white, is acting as his own attorney during this phase of the trial and he will give an opening statement later Wednesday. He says he doesn’t plan to call any witnesses or present any evidence.

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10 a.m.

Jurors have returned to court for the federal sentencing of convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof.

The same 12-member jury that last month found Roof guilty of 33 federal charges returned to court Wednesday to begin mulling if he should get the death penalty or life in prison. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel began the hearing by reading instructions to the jury on what they’ll need to consider in determining Roof’s sentence.

The 22-year-old Roof is representing himself but has said he plans to call no witnesses or introduce any evidence. His former legal team has said Roof fears embarrassing himself or his family.

Prosecutors plan to call up to 38 people related to the nine people killed and three who survived the June 2015 slaughter during Bible study at Emanuel AME Church.

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9:30 a.m.

Attorneys are discussing an order that governs how convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof can move around the courtroom while he represents himself at his federal sentencing.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel says it’s important prosecutors and Roof “are on the same playing field” in terms of how the jury views their roles in the courtroom.

The same 12-member jury that last month found Roof guilty of 33 federal charges returns to court Wednesday to begin mulling if he should get the death penalty or be sentenced to life in prison.

The 22-year-old Roof is representing himself but has said he plans to call no witnesses or introduce any evidence. His former legal team has said Roof fears embarrassing himself or his family.

Prosecutors plan to call up to 38 people related to the nine people killed and three who survived the June 2015 slaughter during Bible study at Emanuel AME Church.

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5:50 a.m.

The same jury that last month unanimously found Dylann Roof guilty in the slayings of nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church is returning to court to begin contemplating his punishment.

The sentencing phase of Roof’s federal trial begins Wednesday in Charleston. He could face the death penalty or life in prison.

The 22-year-old Roof is representing himself but has said he plans to call no witnesses or introduce any evidence. His former legal team has said Roof fears embarrassing himself or his family.

Prosecutors plan to call up to 38 people related to the nine people killed and three who survived the June 2015 slaughter during Bible study at Emanuel AME Church.

After a daylong hearing Monday, a judge again found Roof competent to represent himself and stand trial for sentencing.

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