Update expected in case of Buffalo supermarket gunman as families await decision on death penalty
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Update expected in case of Buffalo supermarket gunman as families await decision on death penalty

Relatives of victims of a racist mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket have been called to federal court Friday for a “substantial update” in the legal case against the gunman, their attorney said. The meeting between Department of Justice representatives and victims of Payton Gendron will take place ahead of a previously scheduled afternoon status conference, attorney Terrence Connors said. Connors represents relatives of some of the 10 Black people killed and three other people wounded in the May 14, 2022, attack.The families have been waiting to hear whether prosecutors would seek the death penalty against Gendron, 20, who is charged in a federal indictment with hate crimes and weapons charges.Gendron already is serving multiple life sentences with no chance of parole after pleading guilty to state charges of murder and domestic terrorism motivated by hate. New York does not have capital punishment, but executions are possible in federal cases.Gendron’s lawyers have said he would plead guilty in the federal case if prosecutors agree not to seek the death penalty. The Justice Department’s capital case committee issued its recommendation in the fall of 2023, but the recommendation was not made public, according to attorneys in the case.Attorneys for Gendron and his parents did not respond to emailed requests for comment, nor did the U.S. Attorney’s office in Buffalo.Those killed at the Tops Friendly Market on Buffalo’s largely Black East Side ranged in age from 32 to 86. They included a church deacon, the grocery store’s guard, a man shopping for a birthday cake, a grandmother of nine and the mother of a former Buffalo fire commissioner. The gunman wore bullet-resistant armor and a helmet equipped with a livestreaming camera as he carried out the attack with a semiautomatic rifle. The weapon was purchased legally but had been modified so Gendron could load it with illegal high-capacity ammunition magazines, authorities said.

Relatives of victims of a racist mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket have been called to federal court Friday for a “substantial update” in the legal case against the gunman, their attorney said.

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The meeting between Department of Justice representatives and victims of Payton Gendron will take place ahead of a previously scheduled afternoon status conference, attorney Terrence Connors said.

Connors represents relatives of some of the 10 Black people killed and three other people wounded in the May 14, 2022, attack.

The families have been waiting to hear whether prosecutors would seek the death penalty against Gendron, 20, who is charged in a federal indictment with hate crimes and weapons charges.

Gendron already is serving multiple life sentences with no chance of parole after pleading guilty to state charges of murder and domestic terrorism motivated by hate. New York does not have capital punishment, but executions are possible in federal cases.

Gendron’s lawyers have said he would plead guilty in the federal case if prosecutors agree not to seek the death penalty. The Justice Department’s capital case committee issued its recommendation in the fall of 2023, but the recommendation was not made public, according to attorneys in the case.

Attorneys for Gendron and his parents did not respond to emailed requests for comment, nor did the U.S. Attorney’s office in Buffalo.

Those killed at the Tops Friendly Market on Buffalo’s largely Black East Side ranged in age from 32 to 86. They included a church deacon, the grocery store’s guard, a man shopping for a birthday cake, a grandmother of nine and the mother of a former Buffalo fire commissioner.

The gunman wore bullet-resistant armor and a helmet equipped with a livestreaming camera as he carried out the attack with a semiautomatic rifle. The weapon was purchased legally but had been modified so Gendron could load it with illegal high-capacity ammunition magazines, authorities said.

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