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Justice Department to pursue death penalty against Buffalo supermarket shooter Payton Gendron

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(NEW YORK) — The Justice Department said Friday in a court filing it will seek the death penalty for Payton Gendron, the then-19-year-old who killed 10 people in a racially motivated shooting at a Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in May 2022.

“United States believes the circumstances in Counts 11-20 of the Indictment are such that, in the event of a conviction, a sentence of death is justified,” the filing said.

Lawyers for Gendron previously said he would consider pleading guilty to the federal charges if the death penalty was taken off the table.

Gendron was sentenced to life in prison without parole on state charges in February 2023 after pleading guilty to 15 charges, including domestic terrorism motivated by hate, murder and attempted murder.

Garland has pursued two death penalty cases under his tenure — one against Sayfullo Saipov, who killed eight people with a truck on a Manhattan bike path in October 2017, and the second against Robert Bowers, who killed 11 people in a shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in October 2018. A jury decided not to sentence Saipov to death, while Bowers was given the death penalty.

Both of those cases were carried over from the previous administration, however, and Garland instituted a moratorium on the death penalty in July 2021. The moratorium remains in place.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

 

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