Gendron, 19, has been charged on the state level with numerous counts, including one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, one count of domestic terrorism in the first degree, three counts of attempted second-degree murder as a hate crime, ten counts of first-degree murder, ten counts of second-degree murder as a hate crime for his ignominious actions on May 14, 2022.
With the young terrorist still facing 27 counts of federal hate crimes and weapons violations, some charges could carry the death penalty if the Justice Department decides on that punishment. The federal charges include ten counts of hate crimes resulting in death, three counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill, and 13 counts of using, carrying, and discharging a firearm.
And, while there is currently a moratorium on federal executions, Attorney General Merrick Garland didn’t rule out possibly pursuing the death penalty when the shooter’s initial charges were revealed in June 2022.
“The Justice Department fully recognizes the threat that white supremacist violence poses to the safety of the American people and American democracy,” said Garland said in a July news release. “We will continue to be relentless in our efforts to combat hate crimes, to support the communities terrorized by them, and to hold accountable those who perpetrate them.”
WBFO NPR reported that Buffalo attorneys John Elmore—who represents the families of victims Kat Massey, 72, and Andre Mackniel, 53, and Terrence Connors—spoke about the possibility of a life sentence.
“I am aware that Payton Gendron intends to plead guilty to the complete indictments, all 25 counts of guilty, and waive his right to appeal,” Elmore expressed. “The judge will have no option but to sentence to life without parole.”
“He’s going to plead guilty to the 25 counts in the indictment. And I assume that the sentence will be life imprisonment without parole,” Connors declared.
According to The Buffalo News, Gendron was scheduled to appear in court last month. However, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office revealed that the case was adjourned until Jan. 12, 2023, stating that the defense requested to “review discovery material.”
In July 2022, a federal grand jury indicted the admitted white supremacist on hate crimes and firearm charges. Gendron has been held without bail since he committed the Buffalo mass shooting on May 14, 2022.