(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — Alleged Buffalo supermarket shooter Payton Gendron is due in an Erie County courtroom Monday morning for an appearance during which he is expected to plead guilty to state charges.
An initial hearing for Gendron’s anticipated change of plea was canceled because of the storm that dropped multiple feet of snow on parts of western New York.
Gendron is charged in a 25-count indictment with carrying out a “domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate” along with 10 counts of murder in the first degree, 10 counts of murder in the second degree as a hate crime, three counts of attempted murder as a hate crime and one count of criminal possession of a weapon.
Gendron fatally shot 10 Black people at the Topps supermarket “because of the perceived race and/or color” of the victims, the indictment said.
Gendron became the first defendant to be charged under the state’s relatively new statute domestic terrorism motivated by hate, which was adopted in 2020 by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It followed the El Paso Walmart shooting that targeted Latinos. The statute is named for Josef Neumann, who was stabbed to death at a rabbi’s home during Hanukkah of 2020.
“That charge only has one sentence if the defendant is found guilty of that charge: life in prison without parole,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said at the time the indictment was unsealed.
The charge against Gendron reflects the white supremacist rhetoric and invective that was found on social media posts linked to him, including a belief in the racist conspiracy theory known as replacement.
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