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By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday filed federal hate crime charges against an 18-year-old white supremacist accused of killing 10 people at a supermarket in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York last month.

Payton Gendron is facing 26 counts of hate crimes and a firearms offense, according to news reporters traveling with U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday to the site of the shooting in western New York state. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Earlier this month, Gendron pleaded not guilty to a 25-count indictment handed down by a New York state grand jury charging him with crimes including first- and second-degree murder and domestic terrorism motivated by hate.

The state’s domestic terrorism hate crime charge alone carries a penalty of life imprisonment without parole on conviction.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Jonathan Oatis)