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Tops mass shooting suspect not pursuing psychiatric defense in state case

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The attorneys for the Tops mass shooting suspect will not be pursuing the psychiatric defense in his state case.

Payton Gendron is accused of killing 10 people and wounding three others during what authorities call a racially motivated attack at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue on May 14. The 19-year-old allegedly drove to Buffalo from Broome County to conduct the attack.

An Erie County grand jury indicted the suspect on multiple charges, including 10 counts of first-degree murder and first-degree domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate. The latter is the highest charge in New York State, carrying an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole.

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The deadline for the alleged gunman’s legal team to file a notice of pursuing the psychiatric defense was last week. According to a spokesperson for the New York State Unified Court System, the suspect’s attorneys “neither filed a notice nor requested an extension to do so.”

The state’s case was originally back in court last Thursday, but the Erie County District Attorney’s Office announced the case had been adjourned until January at the “request of defense counsel to review discovery material.”

The alleged gunman is also facing federal hate crimes and firearms charges for the attack. The 27-count indictment includes 10 counts of hate crimes resulting in death and 13 counts of using, carrying, or discharging a firearm in relation to the hate crimes.

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If convicted, the suspect could face the death penalty. According to the Department of Justice, “the Attorney General will decide whether to seek the death penalty at a later time.”

The suspect’s next court appearance in his federal case is scheduled for December.

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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.

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