No trial on state charges until the feds complete their prosecution of a North Texas man charged with the hate-motivated murder of 23 people at a Walmart store in El Paso.
EL PASO, TX (Borderline Report) – The state trial of mass murder accused Patrick Wood Crusius probably won’t begin until 2025, El Paso County District Attorney Bill Hicks said.
“I’m not sure, 2024. Maybe 2025. I’m not sure. We should meet again to discuss this,” Hicks said after a closed-door status hearing in El Paso with 409 people.th District Court Judge Sam Medrano.
Crusius is accused of killing 23 people and injuring 23 others in an alleged racially motivated attack at a Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall on August 3, 2019. The shooter allegedly posted an online manifesto condemning the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” He allegedly drove 10 hours from Allen, Texas to El Paso to commit the crime.
Lawyers for the suspect on Saturday notified the US District Court for the Western District of Texas of their client’s intention to plead guilty to federal charges. The motion comes days after U.S. Attorney’s announced last week that it would not impose a death sentence on 45 hate crime charges against Crusius. A retrial hearing is scheduled for February 8 in US federal court.
Hicks on Wednesday said he had a “very good discussion” with defense lawyers and Medrano.
“The defense is very focused on finishing the federal case, and the state is, of course, very focused on continuing our efforts to be ready for the state case to continue,” he said outside the courtroom.
Hicks said the judge is complying with a ban on silence, which forbids interested parties from discussing the details of the case in public.
Hicks, who was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott in December to replace Yvonne Rosales as chief prosecutor for the 34th judicial district of Texas, said he is confident he has a team of prosecutors to effectively prosecute the state’s case. “Absolutely. We still have a few vacancies to fill, but we are on the right track,” he said.
Crusius’ lawyers were not immediately available for comment.