DOJ to seek death penalty for Buffalo mass shooter
Why it matters: This marks the first time that the Biden administration has sought the death penalty in a new case, per AP.
- Gendron also faced 27 felony charges in federal court, including multiple counts of hate crimes that resulted in death, to which he pleaded not guilty.
State of play: While New York does not allow for capital punishment, it is still permitted in sentencing for federal cases.
- Gendron had initially said he would plead guilty in the federal case if prosecutors agreed to not pursue the death penalty, per AP.
- However, federal prosecutors said in a court filing on Friday that the circumstances of the mass shooting were "such that, in the event of a conviction, a sentence of death is justified."
- "The United States will seek the sentence of death for these offenses," they added.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul voiced her support for the decision at a press conference Friday.
- "This complies with the DOJ requirements for what constitutes a death penalty offense," she said, adding the Buffalo community is "still reeling from the atrocity" of the mass shooting.