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El Paso Walmart Shooting Suspect Plans to Admit Federal Charges

In a racist attack at an El Paso Walmart, the man accused of killing nearly two dozen people intends to plead guilty to federal charges in the case after the federal government said it wouldn’t seek the death penalty. Patrick Crusius is still charged in state court with capital murder and could still face the death penalty in Texas if convicted in the 2019 mass shooting that killed 23 people, according to the Associated Press. Crusius surrendered to police after the attack, saying, “I’m the shooter,” and said that he was targeting Mexicans. Prosecutors said he published a screed online shortly before the shooting that said it was “in response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” In a court filing Saturday, defense attorneys asked for a hearing to be set so Crusius could plead guilty to federal charges. He was charged with federal hate crimes and firearms violations. U.S. District Judge David Guaderrama set a hearing for Feb. 8.

The Aug. 3, 2019, shooting happened on a busy weekend day at a Walmart that is popular with shoppers from Mexico and the U.S. In addition to the deaths, more than two dozen were injured. Many were citizens of Mexico. El Paso is a largely Hispanic city that forms an international metro area with Ciudad Juarez of more than 2 million people. On the U.S. side, suburbs stretch into New Mexico. Although the federal and state cases have progressed along parallel tracks, it’s unclear when Crusius might face trial on state charges. The district attorney who had led the state case, Yvonne Rosales, resigned in November over accusations of incompetence involving hundreds of cases in El Paso and the slow case against Crusius. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last month appointed a new district attorney to “restore confidence” in the local criminal justice system.


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