According to media reports citing his counsel, the white guy who admitted to killing 10 Black people at a western New York grocery store in May might contemplate pleading guilty to federal crimes if prosecutors do not seek the death penalty.
Less than two weeks after Payton Gendron, 19, pled guilty to state charges of murder and domestic terrorism, his attorneys made a motion to seek a plea deal in court on Friday.
He is charged with 27 federal hate crimes and crimes involving weapons in connection with the racial shooting at a Tops Friendly Markets store. He is an outspoken white supremacist.
Authorities claimed that the supermarket’s location in a primarily Black area of Buffalo, New York, was why the man chose to attack it.
In July, Gendron entered a not-guilty plea to the federal charges. He would be subject to the death penalty if found guilty.
On those charges, Gendron, who is from Conklin, New York, faces a life sentence without the possibility of release.
The attorney for Payton Gendron says Gendron is willing to plead guilty to federal charges if spared the death penalty
— WGRZ (@WGRZ) December 9, 2022
According to CNN, Payton Gendron is ready to enter a guilty plea in federal court in exchange for the same sentence, which is life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“Just as Payton Gendron entered a plea of guilty to the indictment in county court, he is prepared to enter a guilty plea in federal court,” defense attorney Sonya Zoghlin said.
Early in the next year, the defense team and federal prosecutors are anticipated to debate the matter, according to the site.
What penalty the Justice Department might pursue is still out in the air.
In February, Gendron—who was 18 at the time of the shooting—will get his state-related punishment.
In addition to three counts of attempted murder and one case of unlawful weapon possession, he was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 10 counts of second-degree murder, all of which were classified as hate crimes.
Gendron was also charged with one count of domestic terrorism motivated by hatred, making him the first individual to be held accountable under a recently passed New York law.
After putting information online indicating he had been inspired by prior racially motivated mass killings, the shooter broadcast a live video of the attack on May 14 to the social media platform Twitch, according to officials.