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DOJ Won't Seek Death Penalty For 2019 Walmart Shooter

The Justice Department won’t seek the death penalty for Patrick Crusius, accused of killing 23 people in 2019 at a Walmart in El Paso. Crusius faces 90 federal charges for his alleged role in one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, says the Wall Street Journal. Of those charges, 45 have been deemed hate crimes. Crusius, 21 at the time, is accused of traveling to the Texas border city to target Latinos. Nearly two dozen people were injured in the shooting. Jury selection is expected to begin in his federal case in January 2024. Crusius, now 24, was also indicted on state charges of capital murder and could face the death penalty if convicted. The state case would proceed after the federal case is done. Authorities said Crusius published a manifesto before the attack, and said the planned massacre was in response to a “Hispanic invasion” of Texas. Months after taking office in 2021, Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered a halt to federal executions while he reviewed policies of the Trump administration that led to the highest total of federal executions in more than a century. President Biden has said he would work to end federal executions.

The Justice Department last year chose to continue pursuing the death penalty for an alleged terrorist charged with killing eight people in New York City in 2017. The Trump administration initially sought the death penalty against Sayfullo Saipov, who prosecutors said was inspired by Islamic State to carry out the attack. Saipov’s attorneys asked Garland to withdraw the death penalty but were turned down. Justin Underwood, an attorney for the family of Walmart shooting victim Alexander Hoffman, said they were disappointed by the DOJ decision. “They’re disappointed the U.S. government won’t seek the death penalty on a mass murderer who drove 10 hours to seek out and kill Hispanic and Mexican people,” Underwood said. Underwood questioned why the federal government continued to pursue the death penalty in Saipov’s case, but not in the Walmart shooting. Hoffman’s widow and his two sons are now looking to the state’s case for justice, Underwood said. “This might not be the Christian thing for me to say, but some people need to be killed and he certainly qualifies,” Underwood said. “I just put my faith in the state of Texas to seek justice in this case.”

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