NATIONAL NEWS

Trial date set for white supremacist who targeted Black shoppers at a Buffalo supermarket

Feb 2, 2024, 11:17 AM

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The federal death penalty trial for a white supremacist who killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket likely won’t start for at least 18 months to give lawyers time to tackle a host of legal and logistical issues, a judge said Friday.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Vilardo set a date of Sept. 8, 2025, for the start of Payton Gendron’s trial on hate crimes and weapons charges. The date is realistic, Vilardo said at a hearing, but it could change.

Prosecutors had sought an April 2025 start.

“Why do you need so much time?” Zeneta Everhart, whose son, Zaire, was shot in the neck but survived, asked after the hearing. “To me it’s just annoying to keep hearing them push for more time … Just get on it with already.”

Gendron, 20, is already serving a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole after he pleaded guilty to state charges of murder and hate-motivated domestic terrorism in the 2022 attack.

New York does not have capital punishment, but the Justice Department announced in January that it would seek the death penalty in the separate federal case.

Vilardo set a series of filing and hearing dates between now and the trial’s start for preliminary legal challenges, including any defense challenges to the constitutionality of the death penalty.

Prosecutors estimated they will need three to four months to select a jury for the capital punishment case. The trial itself is expected to last five to six weeks.

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Trial date set for white supremacist who targeted Black shoppers at a Buffalo supermarket