Friend Of Charleston Shooter Pleads Guilty To Hiding Information

Apr 29, 2016

A friend of the man accused of shooting and killing nine people in a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., last year has pleaded guilty to failing to report a crime and lying to federal investigators.

Joey Meek, 21, could get up to eight years in prison, reports South Carolina Public Radio's Alexandra Olgin. She adds that attorney Deborah Barbier spoke on Meek's behalf in court on Friday, saying:

"Mr. Meek is very young; he has a limited education. When these unspeakable acts were committed, he was very scared. He was in shock. And today Mr. Meek made no excuses for his conduct."

Dylann Roof, who is white, opened fire at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015. Roof could get the death penalty for nine counts of murder in state court, as The Two-Way has reported. Federal charges include hate crimes.

The state trial is scheduled to start in January, the Charleston Post and Courier says, adding that Meek could be a key witness.

Here's what Meek knew ahead of the shooting, according to the newspaper:

"Meek admitted that Roof told him he planned for months to shoot people at a Charleston Bible study on a Wednesday night and had visited an AME Church before the June 17 massacre at Emanuel AME. Roof planned to use a fanny pack to conceal the gun and ammunition. He also told Meek that he planned to kill himself."

When interviewed by an FBI agent the day after the attack, Meek denied knowing about the plan, the Post and Courier says.

The shooting has become part of a national debate about gun control laws — and about the role of the Confederate flag, which has since been removed from South Carolina's Capitol grounds.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.