The man accused of killing 23 people and injuring dozens in a massacre on August 3, 2019. Could face the death penalty if convicted in state court.
Federal prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for a man accused of fatally. Shooting nearly two dozen people in a racist attack at a West Texas Walmart in 2019.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced its decision not to pursue the death penalty. Against Patrick Crucias in a one-sentence notice. Filed Tuesday in federal court in El Paso.
Crucias, 24, is accused of targeting Mexicans during the Aug. 3 massacre. That left 23 dead and dozens injured. The Dallas-area native faces federal hate crime and firearms violations. As well as capital murder charges in state court. He pleaded not guilty.
Federal prosecutors did not explain. Their reasons for their decision in their court filing. Although Crucius could still face the death penalty if convicted in state court.
The prosecutors’ decision could be a defining moment for the Justice Department. Which has sent mixed signals on federal death penalty policies. That President Joe Biden promised to overturn during his presidential campaign. Biden is the first president to publicly oppose the death penalty. And his election has raised hopes among abolitionist advocates. Who have been frustrated by a lack of clarity on how the administration might. End the federal death penalty or whether it intends to.
The decision comes weeks after former El Paso District Attorney. Jaime Esparza took over as U.S. Attorney for West Texas. Esparza said he would have moved toward. the death penalty in Crucias’ case when he was district attorney. A spokeswoman for Asperger’s office referred questions to the Justice Department in Washington. D.C., while another spokeswoman declined to comment.
Crucias surrendered to police after the attack, saying “I’m the gunman.” And targeting the Mexicans, according to arrest warrants. Prosecutors said he published a screed online shortly before the shooting.
Proposed lawyers for Cruisus did not immediately respond to a request for comment. His case is set for trial in federal court in January 2024.
Although the federal and state cases have progressed. Along parallel tracks, it is unclear now. When Crucius may face trial on the state charges.
The district attorney who led the state prosecution, Yvonne Rosales. Resigned in November amid accusations of incompetence. Involving hundreds of cases in El Paso and slowing. The prosecution of Crucias. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last month appointed a new district attorney to. “Restore confidence” in the local criminal justice system.
Federal prosecutors are still pursuing the death penalty. In the case against Saifullo Saipov. Who is accused of using a truck to plow into pedestrians and bicyclists on a bike path in New York City in 2017. Saipov’s federal capital trial began last week.
The decision to seek death in Saipov’s case came under President Donald Trump. Who has overseen a historic run of 13 federal executions in the past six months in office. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a moratorium on federal executions until 2021. But he allowed U.S. prosecutors to continue seeking the death penalty. Against Saipov while the department reviews its Trump-era death penalty procedures.