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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lexington Man Sentenced for Misprision of a Felony and Making False Statements

Contact Person: Beth Drake (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake announced today that Joseph Carlton Meek, 22, of Lexington, South Carolina, was sentenced to 27 months for Misprision of a Felony and Making False Statements in connection with Dylann Storm Roof’s racist assault on parishioners at Mother Emanuel AME Church.

More than a week prior to Roof’s June 17 attack, Roof told Meek that Roof was going to shoot people during Wednesday night bible study at an AME Church in Charleston. Roof also explained that he had been planning the attack for more than six months and that he intended the attack to serve as a catalyst for a race war. 

As the initial news reports were released on the night of June 17, Meek knew that Roof had committed the attack based on Roof’s prior statements. Meek told friends and family that he knew Roof had committed the attack but took active steps to stop them from contacting law enforcement on the night of June 17 as well as the morning of June 18.  Only after learning that a friend had already called the FBI on June 18 did Meek then call law enforcement.  When the FBI first interviewed Meek on June 18, Meek repeatedly lied about his advance knowledge of the details of Roof’s plans to attack the church.

United States Attorney Beth Drake explained, “Meek’s actions in concealing Roof’s involvement and his false statements to the FBI impacted law enforcement’s efforts to capture and investigate Roof who had escaped with a loaded .45 Glock. Separate and apart from the murders, his actions are serious criminal violations.” U.S. Attorney Drake credited the cooperative relationship between the many law enforcement agencies supported by tips from private citizens for the quick capture of Roof. “This was excellent policing with the support of the community.”

According to Alphonso Norris, FBI Special Agent in Charge, “This sentence demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to bring justice to all those who played a part in this horrific crime.  This successful prosecution was the result of coordinated efforts with our state, local and federal partners.  We are proud to be part of such a professional team that also obtained justice for the victims, families and communities that were forever changed by the cowardly acts of Dylan Roof and Joey Meeks.”

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), City of Charleston Police Department, and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).  Assistant United States Attorneys Jay N. Richardson and Nathan Williams are prosecuting the case. 

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Updated March 21, 2017