The Latest: Haley asks for prayer amid 2 murder trials


CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a white man accused of gunning down nine black parishioners in Charleston (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

Gov. Nikki Haley is asking South Carolinians to pray for healing amid two racially charged murder trials in Charleston and the recovery from Hurricane Matthew.

Haley on Monday called on all places of worship to hold a prayer vigil at noon Tuesday. She also wants church bells to be rung statewide.

The governor says she will be at “Mother Emanuel” AME Church in Charleston, where nine black worshippers were gunned down last year. A judge is weighing whether the white man accused of killing them is competent to stand trial.

The trial of former North Charleston officer Michael Slager is underway. He’s accused of fatally shooting a black motorist in the back as he fled.

Haley says “we don’t know what’s going to come out of these murder trials.”

She says it’s important “we all come together” and reflect.

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4 a.m.

A closed hearing on the competency of Dylann Roof to stand trial in the killing of nine black worshippers at a Charleston, South Carolina, church is planned in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel recently ruled that Monday’s scheduled hearing would remain closed despite pleas from family members of the slain and arguments from the media that it should be open.

Gergel says he’s concerned anything said at the hearing could be seen by potential jurors and taint their view of the defendant. The hearing’s expected to include extensive statements made by Roof that might not be allowed at his death penalty trial.

Gergel says he’ll issue a ruling on whether the trial can continue later this week in connection with the June 2015 attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

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