A federal judge on Thursday asked Joe Biden's government to quickly say whether he intends to seek capital punishment against the young white supremacist who killed ten African Americans on May 14 in a Buffalo supermarket.
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Charged the day before with a “racist crime” by federal justice, Payton Gendron, 18, appeared Thursday for the first time before Judge Kenneth Schroeder in federal court in Buffalo, near the border with Canada.
During this procedural hearing, he assured that he was unemployed and only had 16 dollars in his bank account and asked for legal aid.
The magistrate granted him the services of a court-appointed lawyer and pointed out that his case risked costing taxpayers dearly. "When the death penalty is possible, defense lawyers have an even greater responsibility" and quickly demand expertise, particularly psychiatric or digital, he explained.
“I hope that the Department of Justice will make a quick decision on this point, so that we know as soon as possible whether it intends to seek capital punishment and what budget to allocate,” continued Judge Schroeder.
A federal prosecutor responded that the decision would be made by Justice Minister Merrick Garland "after a rigorous, fair and as expeditious process as possible."
The day before, the minister had left the door open to this option and specified that he would consult “the families of the victims” before deciding.
However, Democratic President Joe Biden promised during his campaign to work to abolish the death penalty at the federal level and his Minister of Justice decreed a moratorium on federal executions shortly after the election.
Payton Gendron is also the subject of prosecution for “internal terrorism” and “murders” before the justice of the State of New York, which abolished the death penalty in 2004.
On May 14, after months of preparations, the young man had gone to a Buffalo supermarket in combat gear, armed with an AR-15 type semi-automatic rifle and a camera broadcasting his actions live. on the Internet.
He had moved methodically out of the parking lot and then into the store, shooting customers and employees. It had caused ten deaths and three injuries, almost all of them black.
According to court documents, he had carried out scouting on the spot and laid down his plan in a racist and conspiratorial “manifesto”. His goal, he wrote, was to "kill as many black people as possible."
The United States is still reeling from this killing and the semi-automatic rifle massacre at a school in Uvalde, Texas of 19 children and two teachers who were killed on May 24 by another 18-year-old before he is not shot by the police.