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Judge in Walmart mass shooting case puts El Paso’s District Attorney on notice

EL PASO, Texas- A much anticipated hearing in the Walmart mass shooting case Thursday morning left many questions unanswered - mainly about who is prosecuting the capital murder case.

The El Paso County District Attorney's Office sent Charles Vance to represent the state.

El Paso District Attorney Yvonne Rosales was not present for the hearing.

Vance said he was asked by Scott Ferguson, who also works in the DA's office, to attend the hearing.

Ferguson is now the lead prosecutor on the case against Patrick Crusius.

Crusius is accused of killing 23 people and injuring a dozen others at an El Paso Walmart on August 3, 2019, before confessing that he had been targeting Mexicans, according to prosecutors. He’s charged with capital murder in Texas and federal hate crimes and firearms offenses.

El Paso Assistant District Attorney Curtis Cox was the former lead prosecutor on the case. He was also not present for Thursday's hearing.

Cox recently sent a letter to 409th District Court Judge Sam Medrano, who presides over the case, saying he was withdrawing as lead prosecutor.

At Thursday's hearing, the judge told Vance to personally deliver a message to Rosales, and Cox - demanding both be present for a status hearing on November 30.

Crusius' defense team claims that Rosales and Cox have avoided being subpoenaed for the November 30 hearing - where both parties are set to discuss whether a July 1 court-issued gag order was violated.

"It is incredible to me that a duly appointed officer of the court is nowhere to be found. We have talked to their investigative, to several of their investigative team. We need to get ahold of Mrs. Rosales we need to serve her a subpoena," Joe Spencer said.

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