Buffalo shooting suspect pleads not guilty to 25 new criminal charges
The 18-year-old accused of shooting and killing 10 people and injuring three more in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket pleaded not guilty Thursday to 25 new criminal charges against him, including one count of domestic terrorism motivated by hate.
Why it matters: An Erie County district attorney told reporters Thursday that the domestic terrorism motivated by hate charge against Payton Gendron is the highest count against him, though it is a "relatively new charge" in the state.
What they're saying: "It has only been on the books since November 1 of 2020. It is the first time in the history of New York state that this domestic terrorism charge motivated by hate in the first degree has been filed," Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said.
- "That charge only has one sentence if in fact the defendant is found guilty of that charge and that is life without parole. There is no minimum; there is no maximum. That is the only punishment on that charge," Flynn added.
The big picture: In total, the indictment contains 25 counts, including 10 first-degree murder charges and attempted murder as a hate crime.
- Gendron was originally charged with a single first-degree murder charge in Buffalo City Court after the shooting.
- The attack is being investigated by the FBI as a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism.
- 11 of the 13 total victims were Black and the semiautomatic rifle used in the attack had been inscribed with a racial epithet and the number 14, a white supremacist numeric symbol.
- Three people were injured in the attack.
What's next: Gendron is scheduled to return to court on July 7, the Erie County District Attorney's Office tweeted Thursday.