The white gunman accused of killing 10 Black people at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket in May intends to plead guilty to murder and all other state charges at a court hearing set for next week, a lawyer for some of the victims’ families said.
The attorney, Terrence Connors, said the defendant, Peyton Gendron, would enter a guilty plea on Monday to all 25 counts against him in a state indictment at a 2 p.m. hearing in Erie County Court in Buffalo.
Connors said that there was no “plea agreement” with prosecutors. Instead, defense counsel notified Connors, a second victims’ attorney and the district attorney’s office three weeks ago that their client had decided to plead guilty, then met with a judge to set a change-of-plea hearing, according to Connors.
All parties to the case were precluded from discussing it publicly until the hearing was posted on the court docket on Thursday.
Daniel Dubois Connors, who represents Gendron, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters. The Erie County Prosecutor’s office would not comment about Monday’s hearing.
An avowed white supremacist, Gendron used a semi-automatic AR-15 when he targeted the Tops Friendly Markets store, believing it to be the hub of a tight-knit, predominantly African-American neighborhood, authorities have said. He broadcast the attack, which also wounded three other people, in real time over the livestreaming service Twitch.
Gendron, who was 18 at the time of the killings, faces 25 state charges in total, including 10 counts of first-degree murder, 10 counts of second-degree murder as a hate crime and three counts of attempted murder as a hate crime. He initially pled guilty to all counts in June.
The guilty plea would mean that the case against Gendron, who is from Conklin, New York, will not go to trial. He could face life in prison or the death penalty on the state charges.
Gendron also faces 27 federal hate crime and firearms charges, to which he pleaded not guilty to in January. The federal charges could carry the death penalty.