Did friend of Charleston shooter lie to investigators? Meek pleads not guilty.

A friend of Dylan Roof is being charged with withholding information and lying to federal authorities.

Joey Meek, friend of Dylann Roof who is accused of killing nine black church members during Bible study on June 17 in Charleston , S.C., speaks to The Associated Press. Mr. Meek was arrested Thursday, more than a month after authorities told him he was under federal investigation for lying to them and failing to report a crime, an official close to the probe said.

[2:30 p.m. update: Joey Meek pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges of lying to investigators and concealing information.]

A friend of the man charged with killing 9 people attending a South Carolina Bible study is being charged in court on Friday.

Joey Meek, friend of Dylan Roof, the man charged with the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, has been taken into custody Thursday. He is charged with lying to federal authorities and withholding information during the investigation following the shootings. His first court appearance is scheduled for Friday. 

Court documents unsealed Friday reveal that Joey Meek told an FBI agent he did not know specifics of Dylan Roof’s plan to shoot worshippers during Bible study. The FBI now says that was a lie. 

Mr. Roof is currently charged with federal hate crime and nine counts of murder following the June 17 shootings.

Mr. Meek has been under investigation since at least early August, when he received a letter notifying him that he was the subject of an investigation.

Mr. Roof and Meek had been friends in school, but had drifted apart, Meek said. A few weeks before the shootings, Roof began hanging out and occasionally staying in Meek’s mobile home in Red Bank. One night, Roof had drunkenly complained that “blacks were taking over the world.”

Meek said that Roof had revealed he had used birthday money to purchase a .45-caliber Glock semi-automatic handgun that is now suspected to have been used in the June 17  shooting. The night of the drunken rant, Meek said he had taken the gun away from Roof, but gave it back in the morning.

After police released surveillance pictures taken at the church before the shooting, Meek said he called authorities identifying Roof as the suspected shooter, Meek says.

Lindsey Fry, Meek’s girlfriend, told the Associated Press he has a good job repairing air conditioners and was frightened of going to jail since receiving the letter that carried news of his investigation.

"He's really worried," Ms. Fry said. "He knows he didn't do anything wrong. But when you're innocent, it can be really hard to prove you are innocent."

Ms. Fry says Meek called her on his cellphone Thursday, when Federal agents were approaching him as he was working.

“They want to talk to me, but I think I’m going to jail,” Fry remembered Meek saying.

Meek is on probation after pleading guilty earlier this year to being in possession of a stolen vehicle. Ms. Fry said she has not heard from Meek since Thursday.

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.