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Walmart mass shooting suspect now faces additional federal charges

Patrick Crusius
Pool photo
Patrick Crusius during his arraignment on state murder charges.

EL PASO, Texas — The man accused of killing 23 people at the Cielo Vista Walmart in El Paso was re-indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury with additional charges in the mass shooting that targeted Hispanics, prosecutors said.

Patrick Crusius, of the Dallas suburb of Allen, continues to be held without bond in the downtown El Paso jail on state capital murder charges.

Federal prosecutors said the 21-year-old now faces new hate crime and firearm charges stemming from the death of 36-year-old Guillermo “Memo” Garcia, who died in April - nine months after the Aug. 3 massacre. (You can read the entire indictment document at the bottom of this article.)

The latest 90-count federal superseding indictment includes 23 counts of hate crimes resulting in death, 23 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence, 22 counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill, and 22 counts of use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

The re-indictment comes more than 11 months after the mass shooting that federal prosecutors say was sparked by militant racism. They have said Crusius carried out the attack to scare Latinos into leaving the U.S., a plot they allege he outlined in a racist screed published online before the attack.

The charges in the federal superseding indictment carry a maximum penalty of death or life imprisonment. The U.S. Attorney General will decide whether to seek the death penalty at a later time, federal officials said.

While there is no trial date yet set, the U.S. Department of Justice will prosecute the federal case on a parallel track with Texas officials. Crusius already faces the death penalty on the state capital murder charges, to which he pleaded not guilty last year.

He has not yet entered a plea in the federal case and his Colorado-based lawyer doesn't expect it to happen anytime soon.

Attorney David Lane, who is representing Crusius in federal court, told the Associated Press that the coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible for the defense team to interview witnesses and for experts to speak with Crusius in jail.

“This pandemic has stopped everyone in their tracks," Lane said.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

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