Joey Meek, a friend of accused Charleston church killer Dylann Roof, was poised to walk out of jail on Wednesday.
Just before 3 p.m., at the Columbia federal courthouse, Magistrate Judge Shiva Hodges approved a $25,000 surety bond for Meek, of the Red Bank area of Lexington County. He was likely to be released later Wednesday from the Lexington County jail, where he was being held.
“The bond could be forfeited should you fail to appear in court as directed,” Hodges told Meek. “Do you understand all that?”
“Yes, your honor,” replied Meek, garbed in an orange jail jumpsuit and manacled with hand and foot chains.
Meek, 21, is charged with lying to FBI agents about Roof after the June 17 shooting deaths of nine African-Americans in Charleston as well as concealing knowledge about Roof’s activities from authorities. If convicted, he could face a maximum of eight years in prison.
As part of the conditions for his release, Hodges told Meek he cannot have contact with various potential witnesses in the ongoing criminal prosecution of Roof.
“I know this is difficult because on that list are your brothers and your girlfriend,” Hodges told Meek.
If Meek violates any bond conditions, including that he stay on house arrest and wear an ankle monitoring device, the bond can be revoked and he can be sent back to jail to await trial, Hodges said.
Meek will live with his grandmother, whose address was not disclosed. He will be allowed to leave the house for work, to go to church and doctor’s offices and to appear in court.
Roof, 21, of Columbia, faces nine counts of hate crimes resulting in death. Roof is an avowed white supremacist and killed nine African-Americans because they were black, a federal indictment in his case said.
The $25,000 bond was guaranteed by Meek’s grandmother, who was in court Wednesday and did not give her name. She was accompanied by Meek’s mother, Kim Konzny, 41. The two declined to speak with reporters afterward.
Meek has been incarcerated since mid-September, when FBI arrested him on the federal charges.
Hodges originally set Meek’s bond at $100,000. But Meek’s court-appointed lawyer, Debbie Barbier, persuaded the judge at an earlier hearing to lower the bond to $25,000 because Meek is no flight risk and would be living in a stable environment.
Meek is a potential key witness in any prosecution of Roof, although he is not alleged to have taken part in any of Roof’s alleged wrong-doing.
For several weeks before the June killings in Charleston, Roof stayed with Meek at Meek’s mother’s trailer in a Red Bank mobile home park. Also in the trailer were Meek’s brothers, Justin, 18, and Jacob, 15, and Meek’s girlfriend, Lindsey Fry, 19.
A federal indictment in the case alleges Meek knew about Roof’s plans to shoot African-American parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston before the June 17 killings. And the indictment said he “did not, as soon as possible, make known the same to some judge or other person in civil authority under the United States.”
Specifically, the indictment also alleges that on June 18, a day after the shootings, Meek told an FBI agent “he did not know specifics of Dylann Roof’s plan” to kill people at the church. The document alleged “Meek’s statements and representations denying such specifics were false, fictitious and fraudulent when made.”
In interviews with The State newspaper before his mid-September arrest, Meek acknowledged that he heard Roof indicate he wanted to commit violence against black people. But Meek said he didn’t take his friend seriously.