Payton Gendron, the gunman behind the supermarket massacre in Buffalo, New York, has pleaded guilty to his troubling crimes.
This major development comes almost seven months after Payton gunned down 10 Black people inside a Tops Friendly Market establishment, and it’s a big step in the journey to bring him to justice.
Payton Gendron Pleads Guilty To 15 State Charges
The 19-year-old entered his guilty plea on Monday. NPR reports that, while his state-level charges initially totaled up to 25 counts, he only pleaded guilty to 15. As a result, the remaining 10 counts were dismissed through the plea deal.
Payton specifically pleaded guilty to a one count of hate-fueled domestic terrorism, three counts of attempted murder, 10 counts of first-degree murder, and one weapons possession charge.
He’s Set To Be Sentenced In Early 2023
With his plea entered, the next step is for the court system to formally sentence Payton.
While his sentencing isn’t scheduled to go down until Feb. 15, his domestic terrorism charge carries a mandatory lifelong prison sentence.
His defense attorney, Brian Parker, spoke on the situation following his client’s guilty plea, CNN reports..
“This critical step represents a condemnation of the racist ideology that fueled his horrific actions on May 14. Before he is sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on February 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.”
Victims’ Family Members Want More Done
While Gendron is definitely headed to prison, the victims’ families are calling for more to be done.
Mark Talley—the son of Geraldine Talley, who was killed in the massacre—unapologetically called for Americans to address the root of the problem: the country’s “racism and racist history,” NPR reports.
“Am I happy that he’s going to jail for life? At this point, honestly, I don’t care. At the end of the day, do I feel that this will cause change? Absolutely not. What would make me happy is if America could acknowledge its racism and racist history.”
Garnell Whitfield, who also lost his mother in the attack, shared that he wants higher-ups to “do something about it.”
“None of these people deserved this. And here we are begging for those in power to do something about it.”
Payton Gendron Is Still Facing Federal Charges
On top of the charges New York State levied against Payton, the federal government still has a bone to pick with him.
Back in July, he was slapped with 27-count federal indictment, and he could potentially face the death penalty.