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Suspected El Paso Walmart shooter intends to plead guilty to federal hate crime charges, filing says

A motion for rearraignment was filed in court Saturday, stating Allen, Texas resident Patrick Crusius intends to plead guilty to the shooting.

EL PASO, Texas — The suspected El Paso Walmart shooter intends to enter a guilty plea on federal hate crime charges in the case, according to a court filing Saturday.

A motion for rearraignment was filed in U.S. federal court Saturday by the attorneys of the man suspected of fatally shooting nearly two dozen people in 2019 at an El Paso Walmart.

The motion states the suspect, Allen resident Patrick Crusius, intends to plead guilty to the federal charges against him.  

Crusius, 24, is accused of targeting Mexicans during the shooting that left dozens wounded and killed 23 people. He is charged with federal hate crimes and firearms violations, along with capital murder in state court.

Crusius surrendered to police after the attack, saying, “I’m the shooter,” and that he was targeting Mexicans, according to an arrest warrant. Prosecutors have said he published a screed online shortly before the shooting that said it was “in response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

Four days ago, the U.S. Department of Justice disclosed they would not be pursuing capital punishment against Crusius in a notice filed with the federal court in El Paso.

The decision comes weeks after Jaime Esparza, the former district attorney in El Paso, took over as U.S. attorney for West Texas. Esparza said when he was district attorney that he would pursue the death penalty in Crusius' case. A spokesman for Esparza's office referred questions to the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., where another spokesman declined to comment.

The district attorney who had been leading the state case, Yvonne Rosales, resigned in November over accusations of incompetence involving hundreds of cases in El Paso and slowing down the case against Crusius. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last month appointed a new district attorney to “restore confidence” in the local criminal justice system.

Crusius' case is set to be tried in federal court in January 2024. It is unclear when he will stand trial on state charges.

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