NewsUSASuspect in El Paso, Texas, Walmart massacre that killed 23 people, pleads guilty to 90 federal counts

Suspect in El Paso, Texas, Walmart massacre that killed 23 people, pleads guilty to 90 federal counts

El Paso, Texas (CNN) — Patrick Crusius pleaded guilty Wednesday to all of the federal charges he faces, nearly three and a half years after the 2019 mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart that left 23 people dead. This was one of the deadliest attacks against Latinos in modern US history.

In 2020, Crusius, 24, pleaded not guilty to all 90 federal charges against him, including hate crimes resulting in death, use of a firearm to commit murder during and in connection with a crime of violence, hate crimes involving attempted murder and use of a firearm during and in connection with a crime of violence.

He was accused of killing 23 people in 2019 at an El Paso Walmart.

Standing wearing a navy blue uniform with his hands cuffed, Crusius said “guilty” as the judge read aloud the 90 counts, a list that included the names of the dead victims and injured survivors. Dozens of relatives of victims were in the audience.

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The guilty plea is part of an agreement in which the Prosecutor’s Office recommends 90 consecutive life sentences.

Crusius repeatedly confirmed that he understood the rights he was giving up by pleading guilty.

After federal prosecutors signaled last month that they would not seek the death penalty, Crusius’ attorneys filed a motion for a new appearance, saying they would change his guilty plea.

The federal trial was scheduled to begin in January 2024, but now that Crusius has pleaded guilty, the case is expected to move directly to a sentencing hearing in June, the judge explained Wednesday.

Patrick Crusius was indicted in 2019 in state court in El Paso, Texas. (Credit: Mark Lambie/The El Paso Times/AP)

As America’s mass shooting epidemic spreads unabated, Crusius also faces state charges for the Aug. 3, 2019 massacre that left more than two dozen people injured. Among the victims were a 15-year-old soccer player and a 60-year-old army veteran who gave “anyone a meal and a home.”

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In that case, Texas prosecutors said they plan to seek the death penalty. Crusius pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in the state capital and a trial is yet to be scheduled.

At a January hearing in the state case, El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks said a trial date will not be set until after sentencing in the federal case, according to CNN affiliate KFOX. Hicks added that the state trial could start in 2024 or 2025, but the dates will be up to the district court judge.

Authorities describe a white supremacist manifesto

Authorities say the suspect drove 11 hours from his hometown of Allen, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, to El Paso with the sole intent of killing immigrants and Mexicans in the West Texas border city.

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Approximately 20 minutes before the massacre, the suspect is believed to have posted a 2,300-word manifesto he wrote titled “The Inconvenient Truth.” He included white supremacist language, opposed “race mixing,” and encouraged immigrants to return to their home countries.

“This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” Crusius wrote, according to an indictment. “They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from the cultural and ethnic replacement brought about by the invasion.”

Weeks before the shooting, the suspect purchased a GP WASR-10 semi-automatic rifle and 1,000 rounds of hollow-point ammunition online, the indictment says.

CNN’s Ashley Killough reported from El Paso and Holly Yan reported and wrote in Atlanta. CNN’s Brad Parks and Nicole Chavez contributed to this report.


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