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Buffalo mass shooting suspect to plead guilty Monday, family member of victim says

"I just want him to live the rest of his life in prison"
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Posted at 1:37 PM, Nov 17, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo mass shooting suspect Payton Gendron is set to plead guilty on Monday, a family member of one of the victims has confirmed to 7 News.

The story was first reported by The Buffalo News.

The suspect is accused of arriving at the Tops Friendly Markets on Jefferson Avenue on May 14 and opening fire, killing 10 people and injuring three others in what investigators have called a racist attack.

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Mark Talley mother, Geraldine Talley, was murdered.

“He has so much evidence out there— he only— clearly has only one logical choice but to plead,” remarked Mark Talley.

Talley's mother, Geraldine Talley, was among ten people murdered by a gunman who opened fire inside the Jefferson Avenue Tops Market, six months ago in what investigators have called a racist attack. 

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Jefferson Ten killed in a shooting rampage.

Talley tells me he has not been told anything about the potential plea for the suspect, "only" hearing reports it could happen.

"But if reports are true, if he is coming to plead guilty this Monday, so be it. As of this point, I'm not letting him or nobody else live — live rent-free in my head." Talley continued on, "He has so much evidence out there — he only clearly has only one logical choice but to plead." “At the end of the day, the evidence points to him being guilty and he's going to be serving the rest of his life either in jail or protective custody worrying about — will he see another day tomorrow."

As Western New York mourns with the families who lost loved ones, 7 News wishes to honor their memory. You can learn more about each of the victims here.

Past court appearance of the suspect.

The suspect faces state charges and federal charges in two separate cases.

The state charges include:

  • Domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree
  • 10 counts of murder in the first degree
  • 10 counts of murder in the second degree, as a hate crime
  • Three counts of attempted murder in the second degree, as a hate crime
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, an armed felony

The Erie County District Attorney's Office tells 7 News that the suspect is scheduled to appear in court on Monday on the state charges but could not confirm anything further. A family member of one of the victims tells 7 News the suspect is expected to plead guilty.

Buffalo Attorney John Elmore represents a couple of the victims' families. He tells me he has reason to believe the suspect will enter a guilty plea in State Supreme court Monday. 

Buffalo Attorney John Elmore.

“Strategically, it is a good move for the defense attorneys to take a plea with life without parole in state court because eventually, the lawyers are going to have to appear before a panel of attorneys in the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. that are going to make a recommendation whether they are going to seek the death penalty,” Elmore described. “He's almost like a caged rat or a caged animal, fighting for his life and by pleading guilty and getting a sentence with life without parole — that that's one of the only cards that he has to save his life."

The suspect also faces 27 counts in a federal case, which includes hate crime and firearm charges. 7 News reached out to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Buffalo for comment, but we were told they have "no comment."

Mark Talley.

“I just want him to live the rest of his life in prison. There's no way he can go out into the general public or somebody will definitely try to kill him immediately, so he's going to have to be in protective custody and his mind will eventually eat at him,” Talley reflected. 

Talley tells me he prefers that Gendron continues to be held here at the Eire County Holding Center in downtown Buffalo because he is among a higher urban population.

“You take him out to Broome County, Niagara County, Alden  — the racial disparity starts to become less and less,” noted Talley. 

Inside Erie County Holding Center.

The suspect remains in solitary confinement.   

Speaking at an unrelated press conference Thursday morning Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown acknowledged the report that the suspect would plead guilty Monday and said "it will open up that wound again, but I think it's good that this individual is pleading guilty."

In October New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Brown announced the establishment of the "May 14th Memorial Commission." The commission will develop and advise a plan to build a physical memorial in East Buffalo to memorialize the life and legacy of the victims.

Monday marked six months since the shooting and tributes were held to honor the memory of those who died.