A white supremacist who killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday (local time), reported The Washington Post.
The sentencing hearing for Payton Gendron was disrupted briefly when he was charged by a man in the audience, who was quickly restrained. It resumed after about 10 minutes, with more emotional testimony from people who talked about losing loved ones in the attack.
Gendron will serve life in prison without parole and the judge and a prosecutor denounced the evils of white supremacy and racism.
The proceedings at the Erie County Courthouse were marked by tearful and angry testimonials from victims’ family members, reported The Washington Post.
Gendron, 19, who is White, planned the attack for months, according to his online writings, which cited white-supremacist conspiracy theories, racist memes and antisemitic rants.
He traveled hundreds of miles from his home in Conklin, New York, and targeted the Tops Friendly Markets grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo, reported The Washington Post.
He also live-streamed the attack on social media, saying he was inspired by a mass killer in New Zealand who espoused similar racist ideology.
Erie County Court Judge Susan Eagan delivered the sentence, using the moment to denounce the long history of white supremacy in the United States and calling on the nation to fight it.
“Let ours be the generation to put a stop to it,” she said. “We can do better. We must do better.”
To Gendron, she said: “There is no place for you and your ignorant, hateful ideology. There can be no mercy for you. No understanding. No second chances. The damage you have caused is too great. And the people you have hurt are too valuable to this community. You will never see the light of day as a free man ever again.”
Meanwhile, Gendron, handcuffed and wearing orange prison clothes, recited a written apology for his crimes, saying he acted out of hate but does not want other white supremacists to be inspired by his actions, reported The Washington Post.
Victims’ family members honored their loved ones and condemned Gendron as a terrorist who had shattered their lives and struck fear in the local Black community. Some cried and others pointed at Gendron, addressing him directly.
Gendron pleaded guilty in November to state murder and domestic terrorism charges that, under state law, carry a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole. New York does not permit the death penalty, reported The Washington Post.
His sentence comes a week after Patrick Crusius, 24, pleaded guilty to federal hate crime and firearm charges in the shooting deaths of 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso, during which he targeted Mexicans. (ANI)