Federal prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for the Allen man accused of fatally shooting nearly two dozen people in a racially targeted attack at an El Paso Walmart in 2019.
On Jan. 17, the U.S. Department of Justice disclosed the decision not to pursue capital punishment against Patrick Crusius in a one-sentence notice filed with the federal court in El Paso, according to PBS. But court filings did not specify why the death penalty will not be on the table.
The 24-year-old Allen resident is accused of targeting Mexicans during an El Paso Walmart massacre on Aug. 3, 2019, killing and wounding 23 people. Crusius was charged with a federal hate crime, firearm violations and capital murder in a state court.
The decision to remove the possibility of capital punishment comes just weeks after former district attorney Jaime Esparza took over the position of U.S. attorney for West Texas. Esparza said when he was district attorney that he would pursue the death penalty in Crusius’ case.
The former district attorney leading the state case, Yvonne Rosales, resigned in November following accusations of incompetence involving hundreds of cases in El Paso and slowing down the process of the case against Crusius. Last month, Gov. Greg Abbott appointed the new district attorney, Esparza, to “restore confidence” in the local criminal justice system.
On Aug. 3, 2019, Crusius left Allen, where he lived with his family, and allegedly drove 10 hours to El Paso where he briefly became lost and “hungry” before going to the Walmart and opening fire. According to The Dallas Morning News, Crusius did not appear to show any sign of guilt or remorse for the killings.
Crusius surrendered to police after the shooting and said, “I’m the shooter,” and told police he was targeting Mexicans, in a police report. Prosecutors said he published a screed online before the shooting that said it was “in response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”