There’s still no decision on whether the federal government will seek the death penalty for the man who shot and killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo Tops grocery store on May 14, 2022.

In a status conference Tuesday morning, prosecutors said the question of the death penalty has recently moved to the Office of the U.S. Deputy Attorney General. That’s the next step before it goes to the attorney general, who makes the final decision on seeking the death penalty. When that answer will come remains unknown.

Payton Gendron is already serving life in prison after pleading guilty to New York state charges for his racist mass shooting attack last year. He faces 27 federal counts, including hate crimes charges. He was not in court on Tuesday.  

Before the federal case can go to trial, attorneys will argue over defense motions regarding jury selection and a protective order to keep prosecutors from accessing records of Gendron while he’s been behind bars.  

The judge said with so many moving parts in the case, it’s impossible to move forward with a trial at this time.  

The next court date is scheduled for Jan. 12 in Buffalo.