US will not seek death penalty for alleged Texas Walmart shooter

Federal prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing nearly two dozen people in a racist attack on a Walmart in West Texas in 2019.

The US Department of Justice announced the decision not to impose the death penalty on Patrick Crusius in a one-sentence notice filed Tuesday in federal court in El Paso.

Crusius, 24, is accused of attacking Mexicans during the Aug. 3 massacre, which left 23 people dead and dozens injured. The Dallas native is charged with federal hate crimes and gun violations, as well as capital murder, in state court. He pleaded not guilty.

Federal prosecutors did not explain in their court the reason for their decision, although Crusius could still face the death penalty if found guilty in state court.

The prosecutor’s decision could be a defining moment for the Justice Department, which has sent mixed signals about the federal death penalty policy that President Joe Biden vowed to end during his presidential campaign. Biden is the first president to openly oppose the death penalty, and his election revived the hopes of abolitionists who have since been frustrated by the lack of clarity about how the administration could end federal executions and whether that is the goal.

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