Patrik Crusius, the suspect in the 2009 El Paso Walmart shooting, is accused of racially motivated killing 23 people and will plead guilty to avoid the death penalty
Gunman Patrick Crusius, accused of killing 23 people in a massacre at an El Paso Walmart, plans to plead guilty to federal charges in the case, according to court records filed days after the federal government said it would not seek the prison sentence. death in the case, according to The Associated Press.
Patric Crusius faces a 90-felony federal indictment that also includes hate crime and firearms charges in connection with the mass shooting, which the Justice Department has described as an act of domestic terrorism.
Patrick Crusius is still charged in state court with capital murder and could still face the death penalty in Texas if he is convicted of the 2019 mass shooting in which he killed 23 people.
In a court filing Saturday, defense attorneys asked that a hearing be set so that Crusius can plead guilty to the federal charges.
US District Judge David Guaderrama set the hearing for Feb. 8 in El Paso in a court order dated Monday.
Crusius turned himself in to police after the attack, saying, “I’m the shooter,” and that he was aiming to kill Mexicans, according to an arrest warrant. Prosecutors have said he posted an article online shortly before the shooting that he said was “in response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
The August 3, 2019 shooting occurred on a busy weekend day at a Walmart that is often popular with shoppers from Mexico and the United States. In addition to those who died, more than two dozen people were injured. Many were citizens of Mexico.
Although the federal and state cases against Crusius have progressed on parallel tracks, it is not known when Crusius might face trial on state charges. A status hearing in the state case was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, according to court records.
The district attorney who had been in charge of the state case, Yvonne Rosales, resigned in November over allegations of incompetence that involved hundreds of cases in El Paso and delayed the case against Crusius.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott last month appointed a new district attorney to “restore confidence” in the local criminal justice system.
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