BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Attorneys for the gunman in the May 14th Tops mass shooting say he is prepared to plead guilty in his federal case, depending on sentencing.

Payton Gendron’s defense team say they’re hopeful the federal case against their client will not go to trial, but only if the death penalty is taken off the table and he receives a sentence similar to the New York State’s case.

The gunman was scheduled to be back in federal court Friday, but he waived his appearance – something family members of the victims say is a slap in the face.

“They feel like they’re still being punished, and they have to come here in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, during the holidays, and he was not here. He waived his right to appear, and they felt very strongly offended by that,” said attorney John Elmore, who represents some of the family members of the victims.

“He didn’t even have to come here. He didn’t even have to show up. He didn’t have to face us, and that’s ridiculous,” said Zeneta Everhart, the mother of Zaire Goodman. Goodman, a Tops employee, was shot in the neck but survived.

The shooter’s attorneys asked for more time to look through “multiple terabytes” of evidence handed over by the prosecution.

The Department of Justice has yet to make a decision whether they will pursue the death penalty, though the defense and prosecution have scheduled a meeting after the holidays so the gunman’s lawyers can hold a presentation to argue against the death penalty.

“He’s asking to be spared. Did he show mercy when all those other [victims] asked to be spared?” said Kimberly Salter, the wife of Aaron Salter Jr. – one of the 10 people killed that day.

The gunman is scheduled to be sentenced in his state case on February 15. One of the charges he pleaded guilty to, Domestic Act of Terrorism Motivated by Hate, automatically carries a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A second status conference is now scheduled for the federal case. That is set for March 10 – nearly one month after the gunman’s state sentencing.

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.