OAN’s Sophia Flores
12:09 PM –Friday, January 12, 2024
Federal prosecutors have announced that they will seek the death penalty for Payton Gendron, the man who pleaded guilty to killing 10 people in a grocery store back in 2022.
On Friday, the Justice Department announced in a filing that they will seek the death penalty for the racially-motivated Tops Supermarket shooter.
“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.
“Payton Gendron expressed bias, hatred, and contempt toward Black persons and his animus toward Black persons played a role,” the filing continued.
The 20-year-old, who is currently serving a life sentence, pleaded guilty to state charges of murder and hate-motivated domestic terrorism in November of 2022. However, he had pleaded guilty only under the condition that “prosecutors would agree not to seek the death penalty.”
New York, the state where the shooting occurred, does not have capital punishment. Nonetheless, the Justice Department took the opportunity to seek the death penalty in a separate federal hate crimes case.
This is the first time under Attorney General Merrick Garland’s leadership that the Justice Department is pursuing capital punishment.
Garland has only perused two death penalty cases in the past. One against Sayfullo Saipov, who killed eight people with a truck on a bike path in 2017, and one against Robert Bowers, the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooter in 2018. However, both cases occurred under former President Donald Trump while he was in office.
A jury had decided not to sentence Saipov to death, while Bowers got the death penalty. The cases were carried over from the Trump administration once Biden took the White House.
In 2021, Garland then issued a moratorium on the death penalty, essentially halting any further federal executions. The order remains in place to this day.
“The Department of Justice must ensure that everyone in the federal criminal justice system is not only afforded the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States, but is also treated fairly and humanely,” said Attorney General Garland. “That obligation has special force in capital cases.”
President Joe Biden is an outspoken opposer of capital punishment. He has called for it to end indefinitely and suggests that convicted criminals should “instead serve life sentences without probation or parole.”
In February 2023, Gendron was sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing 10 innocent people. He decided to carry out the shooting at a Topps Supermarket in Buffalo, New York, since he purportedly “knew it had a predominantly Black demographic.”
“I did a terrible thing that day. I shot people because they were Black,” Gendron said in court.
On that day, he murdered Roberta Drury, Pearl Young, Hayward Patterson, Ruth Whitfield, Celestine Chaney, Aaron W Salter Jr., Andre Mackniel, Marcus Morrison, Katherine Massey and Geraldine Talley.
However, some were not happy with the news of Gendron’s capital punishment. Mark Talley, the son of shooting victim Geraldine Talley, believes the death sentence would let the racially-motivated shooter get “off the hook” for the crimes he committed in taking innocent lives.
“I want him to torture, I want him to suffer, I want everything he ever loved to suffer. I want friends and family that he loved to suffer. I want possibly the worst thing that I can ever imagine to possibly happen to him,” Talley asserted.
“As far as I’m concerned, I think he’s getting off the hook getting the death penalty because he won’t get that suffering that I want,” he continued. “As long as I’m alive, whether God gives me 20, 30 or 60 years, I wanna be able to see him to suffer.”
Stay informed! Receive breaking news blasts directly to your inbox for free. Subscribe here. https://www.oann.com/alerts