Charleston Shooter’s Friend to Plead Guilty to Fed Charges
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 Monday.
Joey Meek, 21, has agreed to plead guilty to lying to authorities and failure to report a crime, according to the agreement, and a hearing is set for 1 p.m. Friday in Charleston. He could face up to eight years in prison on those charges, although prosecutors note in the agreement they will argue he deserves less time if he’s helpful in their ongoing case.
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, and federal authorities haven’t said if they will also seek a death sentence for Roof. No trial date has been set on those charges.
Meek could serve up to eight years in prison, but he might get time if he cooperates in state and federal prosecutions of Roof. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel will either reject or accept the agreement and decide the penalty.
Before he was charged himself last fall, Meek has long been a part of the story centered on Roof and his arrest. A day after the massacre, Meek, who had hung out with Roof off and on in the weeks before the June 17 shooting, 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.”
Meek also told the AP he called the FBI after recognizing Roof in surveillance footage from the church, down to the stained sweatshirt he wore while playing Xbox videogames in Meek’s home the morning of the attack.
“I didn’t THINK it was him. I KNEW it was him,” Meek told AP after being interviewed by investigators, also saying Roof told him he used birthday money from his parents to buy a .45-caliber Glock semi-automatic handgun.
But authorities say that 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.”