Dylann Roof's psychiatric exam was released (copy)

Dylann Roof enters a courtroom last year. File/Grace Beahm/Staff

A federal court denied Emanuel AME Church shooter Dylann Roof's request for new attorneys to handle his appeal, without comment, on his argument the ones appointed to him are Jewish and Indian and therefore "my political and biological enemies."

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia issued a one-line ruling Tuesday saying only "the court denies the motion for substitution of counsel on appeal."

Roof, who received a death sentence in January for killing nine black church worshippers because of their race, penned his three-page motion from an Indiana prison that houses the federal execution chamber. A self-described white nationalist, Roof added he'd already found it impossible to work with his lead trial attorney, David Bruck, because he too is Jewish.

"His ethnicity was a constant source of conflict even with my constant efforts to look past it," Roof wrote in his motion. "Trust is a vital component in an attorney client relationship, and is important to the effectiveness of the defense. Because of my political views, which are arguably religious, it will be impossible for me to trust two attorneys that are my political and biological enemies."

Given the ethnicity of his court-appointed federal public defenders — Alexandra Yates and Sapna Mirchandani, it is "literally impossible that they and I could have the same interests related to my case," Roof wrote.

Yates and Mirchandani were appointed after Roof was sentenced to death in January. During the trial, he often feuded with Bruck, who wanted to present evidence of mental illness and possible autism in an effort to garner Roof a life sentence.

Roof represented himself during portions of the trial to block Bruck's strategy, and he reportedly threatened to kill Bruck at one point if he managed to get out of jail, according to court documents. 

After his death sentence was imposed, Roof asked for new lawyers so he didn't have to continue with Bruck and his team, saying "I just don't trust them." 

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Reach Glenn Smith at 843-937-5556. Follow him on Twitter @glennsmith5.

Watchdog/Public Service Editor

Glenn Smith is editor of the Watchdog and Public Service team and helped write the newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation, “Till Death Do Us Part.” He is a Connecticut native and a longtime crime reporter.

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