BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The self-proclaimed white supremacist accused of killing 10 people and injuring three others in the Buffalo supermarket mass shooting is expected to plead guilty Monday to the state charges against him, multiple sources confirmed to News 4.
An attorney for accused shooter, Payton Gendron, confirmed the plans for the plea to CBS News.
A grand jury indicted Gendron on 25 charges in June, including a domestic terrorism charge. He is scheduled to appear in Erie County Court at 2 p.m.
The state case is separate from the federal case against Gendron, in which he could face the death penalty if convicted. Charges against him in the state case include:
- Domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree
- Murder in the first degree (10 counts)
- Murder in the second degree, as a hate crime (10 counts)
- Attempted murder in the second degree, as a hate crime (3 counts)
- Criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, an armed felony
Buffalo mayor Byron Brown spoke briefly Thursday about the news: “The families need justice,” he said. “The families have demanded justice. It’s going to be difficult for the families, it’s going to open up that wound again. But I think it’s good that this individual is pleading guilty.”
“There was never any doubt of whether he was guilty or not,” said Garnell Whitfield Jr., whose mother, Ruth, was killed in the attack. “I know he will never see the light of day again.”
Local attorney John Elmore, who represents the families of two victims says discussions about a guilty plea have been ongoing for the past couple of weeks.
“It’s an effort to avoid death. Payton Gendron’s facing the death penalty in federal court, a panel of attorneys and the U.S. Attorney’s Office is going to meet with the defense attorneys at some time, defense attorneys are going to present their case of life in front of this panel of attorneys,” Elmore said, “And, it makes sense that he would plead guilty before they do that because up until today he’s not accepted any responsibility or shown any remorse for what he’s done.”
The federal case against the accused shooter in the Tops mass shooting is still pending. He faces a 27-count indictment in federal court. The U.S. Attorney’s Office would not comment on the expected guilty plea in state court.
Some families we’ve heard from are in favor of pursuing the death penalty, while others have said publicly that they’re not. The guilty plea would spare a large amount of time and money in having a trial. Plus, witnesses would not need to testify and families would be spared the emotional toll of experiencing a trial.
Monday marked sixth months since the mass shooting. Buffalo held a moment of silence and lit buildings up in orange to signify gun violence prevention.
“Although it’s still been 6 months, mentally it feels like I’m still there every day,” the son of a victim told News 4. “So although time physically is going by faster, mentally, it’s still 5/14.”