Documents unsealed in federal court reveal new details about the mental health of convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof, including a pychiatrist’s finding that his disorders make it hard for him to focus, interact with others or express emotion.
Roof’s psychiatric records remain sealed, as do the transcripts from two competency hearings which were closed to the public over objections by media organizations including The Associated Press.
But other information unsealed this week describes Roof’s mental state, a topic the 22-year-old defendant tried to keep out of his sentencing after insisting on representing himself.
Quoting from a psychiatrist’s testimony during one of those hearings, his lawyers wrote “the defendant suffers from ‘Social Anxiety Disorder, a Mixed Substance Abuse Disorder, a Schizoid Personality Disorder, depression by history, and a possible Autistic Spectrum Disorder.'”
Some of the other trademarks of those disorders, according to the filings, are anxiety about unknown outcomes, a tendency to become overwhelmed and trouble retaining information. Roof’s “high IQ,” his attorneys wrote, is “compromised by a significant discrepancy between his ability to comprehend and to process information and a poor working memory.”
Because of this, his attorneys asked that the judge allow for frequent courtroom breaks, longer times for lunch recess and perhaps even a day or two off from court per week. The motion also noted that U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel had “denied a defense request for an independent competency evaluation focused on autism.”
The judge ultimately denied the motion, taking breaks at regular intervals and holding court for about eight hours a day. The information on Roof’s diagnoses emerges from the hundreds of pages of court documents originally filed under seal and opened this week by Gergel.
Read more: Live5News