BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says we’ve all heard the phrase, throwing the book at someone. In this case, Flynn says the defendant is getting “War and Peace.”
18-year-old suspected gunman Payton Gendron was arraigned Thursday on a 25-count indictment. That includes 10 charges of murder in the first degree.
Flynn said he could have only charged one count of murder in the first degree and it would have resulted in the same conviction, but he wanted all 10 of the victims’ names to be listed so they each get their justice.
The suspect was also charged with one count of a domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree.
“The highest charge is domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree. This is a relatively new charge in New York State. It’s only been on the books since November 1 of 2020,” DA Flynn said. “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.”
Flynn could not get into the details of evidence he has for this charge, but he says his office must prove five or more people were murdered with the intent that it was racially motivated. If convicted, the alleged gunman would be sentenced to life without parole.
He will be back in court on July 7 for further proceedings.
Flynn said this is a case with a large amount of evidence.
Here are all the charges:
- Domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree
- Murder in the first degree (10 counts)
- Murder in the second degree, as a hate crime (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