Federal prosecutors stated Tuesday that the lone shooter who killed 23 people and injured scores in a 2019 Walmart mass shooting along the U.S.-Mexico border would not be executed. Prosecutors told the El Paso federal court in a one-sentence document that they would not pursue the death penalty. Authorities believe Cruisius used white supremacist language to explain the Aug. 3 killing of Hispanics. Since 2021, no new death penalty cases have been filed, according to the Tribune.
Crusius, 24, is charged with 23 hate crimes resulting in death, 23 firearm charges, 22 hate crimes to kill, and 22 firearm charges. He may be imprisoned forever.
What did the federal prosecutors said
Federal prosecutors will not pursue the death sentence for a man accused of racially shooting nearly two dozen people at a West Texas Walmart in 2019.
In a one-sentence letter filed Tuesday with the federal court in El Paso, the U.S. Department of Justice said Patrick Crusius will not be executed.
Crusius, 24, is suspected of targeting Mexicans in the Aug. 3 massacre that killed 23 and injured scores. The Dallas native faces federal hate crimes, gun violations, and state capital murder charges. Defendant.
Though Crusius may be executed in state court, federal prosecutors did not explain their choice in their court brief.
The prosecutors’ decision may define the Justice Department’s confusing signals on the federal death sentence, which President Joe Biden swore to eliminate. Abolitionists were hopeful when Biden became the first president to reject the death penalty explicitly. Still, they’ve been disillusioned by the administration’s lack of clarity on how to cease federal executions or if that’s the goal.
Jaime Esparza, former El Paso district attorney, became West Texas U.S. attorney weeks before the ruling. Esparza stated he would seek the death sentence for Crusius as district attorney. Esparza’s office forwarded queries to the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. Another spokesperson refused to comment.
How did the police react
According to an arrest warrant, Crusius surrendered to police after the incident, stating, “I’m the shooter,” and targeting Mexicans. “In reaction to the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” he wrote online before the shooting, according to prosecutors.
Cruises attorneys did not reply to calls for comment. His federal court trial begins in January 2024.
Despite simultaneous federal and state proceedings, Crusius’ state trial date remains unknown.
In November, Yvonne Rosales, the state’s district attorney, resigned after allegations of incompetence in hundreds of El Paso cases and stalling the Crusius case. Last month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott selected a new district attorney to “establish faith” in the local criminal justice system.
In 2017, Sayfullo Saipov used a vehicle to kill pedestrians and cyclists on a New York City cycle route. Federal prosecutors are still seeking the death sentence. Saipov’s federal capital trial started last week.
President Donald Trump, who supervised a record 13 federal executions in his final six months, ordered Saipov’s execution. In 2021, Attorney General Merrick Garland placed a moratorium on federal executions, but he permitted prosecutors to pursue the capital sentence against Saipov while the department reviewed Trump-era death penalty protocols.
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