The author of the racist massacre in Buffalo will remain in prison

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Payton Gendron. /REUTERS

This is the first time that a grand jury has validated charges of hate-motivated domestic terrorism, which has only been in the law since 2020.

Payton Gendron, 18, has had more charges than his age: 25, they read him this Thursday in court. But none of them will bring back to life the ten fatalities he left behind in a Buffalo supermarket.

He is charged with those ten first-degree murders, in addition to ten hate crimes, three attempted murders, criminal weapons possession, and first-degree domestic terrorism motivated by hate crimes. It is the first time that a grand jury has validated charges of domestic terrorism motivated by hate, which has only been in the legislation since 2020. As a consequence, the judge has ordered that he remain in prison without bail at least until he returns in front of him the next July 7th.

The grand jury’s job was easy. Gendron drove nearly four hours to find an all-African-American neighborhood where he, in his own words, would not miss the mark when shooting blacks he encountered in the aisles of the Tops supermarket in Buffalo. All that and much more he left in writing in a 180-page manifesto that will also make it very easy for the jury that finally prosecutes him.

What remains in the pipeline and will be more difficult to prove is whether social networks were complicit in his massacre. New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement that “it is chilling that an individual could post detailed plans to commit such acts of hate without any consequences and broadcast it to the world,” she complained. The prosecutor investigates the possible legal ramifications that this may have for the platforms that she used, but with this she explores virgin ground in which much remains unlegislated.

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