BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — There is still no federal trial date set for the Buffalo mass shooter, as a Friday status conference resulted in a 90-day adjournment to allow the defense to continue going over evidence.
As a result of the adjournment, the next status conference will be held at 10:30 a.m. on June 15 and will be overseen by Judge Kenneth Schroeder. It will follow another court session one week earlier that will be overseen Judge Lawrence Vilardo.
Payton Gendron, the Tops mass shooter that received 11 life sentences in the state case against him, did not appear in court Friday. He is facing 27 charges in his federal case, including 10 counts of committing hate crimes resulting in death and 10 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence.
The defense representing Gendron argued that due to the 4.1 terabytes worth of evidence that they have to continue to go through, it will take them time to determine what is relevant.
While the prosecution insisted that they specified what they felt was noteworthy in the evidence they supplied, the defense argued they hold the right to determine what is and isn’t relevant, and thus require more time to continue that process, which was granted by the judge.
Prosecutors pushed to try and keep the legal process moving, proposing a schedule of set dates and actions that needed to be met over the next eight or so months. However, it was not put into place by the judge.
One of the biggest questions that remain regarding Gendron’s federal trial is whether or not he will face the death penalty, but there was no decision one way or the other during Friday’s court session. The prosecution and defense still have to meet with Department of Justice officials in Washington, D.C., to make their cases regarding the death penalty after doing so with local officials already, and a date for that has yet to be set.
As the federal case continues to drag on, family members of shooting victims are growing frustrated.
“I think all the families are frustrated. We know what this terrorist did, enough already with the extensions and things like that,” said Zeneta Everhart, mother of shooting survivor Zaire Goodman. “It’s been 300 days. How many more days do you need to go through discovery? I get it, it’s a process, it’s probably a lot – but at the same time, what he did he posted it online. The world knows what he did. So at this point, let’s just get on with it.”
In late November, Gendron admitted to the following state charges, for which he was sentenced in February:
- domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree
- murder in the first degree (10 counts)
- attempted murder in the second degree, as a hate crime (3 counts)
- criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, an armed felony
Here are the names of those who were killed in the act of domestic terrorism on May 14, 2022 at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue:
- Ruth Whitfield, 86
- Roberta Drury, 32
- Andre Mackniel, 53
- Aaron Salter, 55
- Heyward Patterson, 67
- Pearl Young, 77
- Katherine Massey, 72
- Margus Morrison, 52
- Geraldine Talley, 62
- Celestine Chaney, 65
Gendron was the first person in New York to be indicted, as well as convicted, on the charge of a domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree. He had also been indicted on 10 counts of second-degree murder as a hate crime, but those counts were automatically dismissed due to his admission to the first-degree murder charges.