$61K from grant will let more people watch Dylann Roof trial

Dylann Roof appears for a state court hearing in July 2015.

Charleston County plans to use $61,000 in federal grant money to let more people watch Dylann Roof’s upcoming death penalty trial.

Under the plan by Clerk of Court Julie Armstrong, video footage from a courtroom that seats 75 gallery members will be fed into an overflow room that holds 150 people.

The County Council’s Finance Committee approved the plan Thursday. Its agenda contained details of how the money would be spent.

The funds come from the Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program at the U.S. Department of Justice. The agency’s Office for Victims of Crime awarded a total $3.6 million to help survivors, family members of those slain and authorities who handled Roof’s June 2015 attack that killed nine worshippers at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church.

Roof’s murder trial in state court is expected to start sometime early next year. It’s set to take place after his trial in federal court, where the 22-year-old from Eastover also faces execution.

The Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center at the Medical University of South Carolina requested the funds in coordination with local governments. Money from the program is typically used to reimburse victims for counseling services, funerals and other expenses related to mass violence.

The 9th Circuit Solicitor’s Office also will accept $400,000 to help out-of-town victims and their families attend the court proceedings.

The Charleston County Coroner’s Office will use $18,000 to cover costs of responding to the tragedy, such as overtime pay, transport of the dead victims, evidence supplies, court reporting services, autopsies and toxicology tests.

Diane Knich contributed to this report. Reach Andrew Knapp at 843-937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.