On May 14, Payton Gendron opened fire in a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, NY, killing 10 people and injuring three more. Gendron, a 19-year-old white man, was taken into custody later that same day and charged with first-degree murder. He formally entered a plea of “not guilty” on May 19, but today (Nov. 28), he officially pleaded guilty earlier this morning to more than a dozen related state charges.
Gendron pleaded guilty to one count of domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate, 10 counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, and a weapons possession charge. His defense attorney, Brian Parker, said the guilty plea ensures there will be no state trial and Gendron will not appeal. The charges come with a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the chance of parole.
“This critical step represents a condemnation of the racist ideology that fueled his horrific actions on May 14,” said Parker. “Before he is sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on Feb. 15, the surviving victims and deceased victims’ family members will all have a chance to address the court, the community and our client directly. It is our hope that a final resolution of the state charges will help in some small way to keep the focus on the needs of the victims and the community.”
Buffalo attorney John Elmore, who represents two families of victims, previously stated that he is not done yet fighting for justice following the guilty plea. “If he pleads guilty and he gets sentenced in state court to life without parole, it’s not over,” Elmore said. “It’s one small step towards justice and there’s still a long ways to go.”
Leading up to the shooting, Gendron reportedly wrote a manifesto, detailing his support of white supremacy. All of the victims were Black and ranged in age from 20 to 86.