On Monday, November 28, Payton Gendron, the man behind the mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket, pleaded guilty to a New York state terrorism charge, which ensures a sentence of life without parole.
As per Reuters, Payton Gendron, 19, a white supremacist who killed ten African-Americans at a predominantly black supermarket in Buffalo, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and multiple counts of murder motivated by a hate crime and a domestic terrorism charge.
In May 2022, in a racially motivated mass shooting, Grendon shot thirteen people, killing ten, including customers, employees, and an armed security guard, ranging in age from 20 to 86. Eleven out of the thirteen people who were shot at the time were identified as black.
The guilty plea comes months after the Buffalo shooter pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges during his indictment in July, which could result in a death sentence if convicted. It should be noted that the state of New York does not carry the death penalty, thereby, the suspect will be sentenced to life without parole on state charges.
Payton Gendron pleads guilty after killing ten people while live streaming the incident
On Monday, Payton Gendron pleaded guilty to the racially motivated mass shooting where, dressed in military gear, the suspect drove into the parking lot at the Buffalo supermarket and live-streamed the massacre on Twitch from a camera fastened to his head.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn, while outlining the evidence that indicated the mass shooting was a hate-fueled incident, said that Payton Gendron reportedly conducted extensive research on black neighborhoods before he zeroed in on the Buffalo location and carried out the horrific crime. The statement read:
"Although the attack lasted just over two minutes, the defendant's planning of a racially motivated attack occurred over a span of several months."
As per BBC News, during the hearing, the judge named each of the ten victims who were killed by the assailant. The suspect reportedly responded with a resounding yes when asked if he had killed them because of their race. Shortly after the hearing, Gendron’s lawyer, Brian Parker, said
"Our client pled guilty to every count of the indictment with the full knowledge that he will spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of parole."
"This critical step represents a condemnation of the racist ideology that fuelled his horrific actions."
In a statement, the devastated parents of Payton Gendron condemned the actions of their son, saying:
“Our hearts are broken over the devastation he caused to the innocent victims he killed and wounded, their families, and the African-American community in Buffalo and beyond.”
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, who was present during the hearing on Monday, said,
"The penalty for this horrific crime is for this individual never ever to see the light of day again."
According to John Flynn, Gendron is the first person to be charged under the law of domestic terrorism motivated by hate since its inception in 2020. Gendron will reportedly hear victim impact statements from the families of the people he killed in a hearing scheduled for February 15.