CHARLESTON, S.C. — A judge is granting a request for new lawyers from a man who fatally shot nine black parishioners during a church Bible study in South Carolina.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel wrote in a ruling Thursday that federal public defenders from California and Maryland will be working on Dylann Roof’s appeal of his death sentence.

Roof’s relationship with the lawyers in his federal trial has been rocky. He called them the “sneakiest group of people I have ever met” when they told them they wanted to tell a jury about his mental problems to spare his life.

Roof also threatened to kill defense attorney David Bruck.

Roof was sentenced to death in January after being found guilty of hate crimes in the June 2015 slayings at Emanuel AME church.