Church shooting suspect's friend to plead

2016-04-26 07:19
Dylann Roof at his bond hearing.  (Grace Beahm, AP)

Dylann Roof at his bond hearing. (Grace Beahm, AP)

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Columbia - A friend of the white man accused of fatally shooting nine black parishioners in Charleston last year is set to plead guilty to two federal charges, according to an agreement signed by federal prosecutors and filed online on Monday.

Joey Meek, 21, has agreed to plead guilty to lying to authorities and failure to report a crime, according to the agreement.

Authorities have said that Meek failed to tell investigators all he knew about Dylann Roof's plans to shoot nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church last June.

Roof, 22, is charged with nine counts of murder in state court and with hate crimes and other charges in federal court. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in his state trial, which has been delayed until next year.

Federal authorities haven't said if they will also seek a death sentence for Roof, and no trial date has been set on those charges.

Meek hung out with Roof off and on in the weeks before the June 17 shooting. A day after the shooting, Meek told The Associated Press that Roof had drunkenly complained to him that "blacks were taking over the world" and "someone needed to do something about it for the white race".

Authorities say Meek knew more. An indictment alleges he knowingly lied to an FBI agent when he said "that he did not know specifics of Dylann Roof's plan to shoot individuals on a Wednesday, during Bible Study, at an AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina."

Meek had been set to go on trial later this year. The agreement did not give a date for his plea hearing, and his attorney did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

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