Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Gunman who killed 23 at Texas Walmart sentenced to 90 life terms

The gunman who killed 23 people at an El Paso Walmart in Texas in 2019 was sentenced to 90 consecutive life terms by a federal judge on Friday.

Prosecutors had recommended Patrick Crusius, a 24-year-old white ‘supremacist’ targeting Latinos, receive consecutive life sentences for each of the 90 federal charges, including hate crimes and firearms offences, to which he pleaded guilty, Xinhua news agency reported.

The shooter had initially pleaded not guilty to the federal charges but changed his plea in February after prosecutors indicated they would not seek the death penalty.

On August 3, 2019, Crusius shot 23 people dead and injured dozens more at a Walmart store in El Paso, a major border city in western Texas.

US District Judge David Guaderrama handed down the sentences after a three-day emotion-filled hearing in downtown El Paso.

The gunman’s defence team told the judge that their client was suffering from a mental disorder called schizoaffective, but prosecutors dismissed that was an explanation for his actions, the El Paso Times reported.

“What happened was a cold, calculated scheme targeting immigrants and Hispanics,” federal prosecutor Ian Martinez Hanna said, noting mental illness was not an excuse.

“A shooting spree that spared no one. It was not a crime of passion. It was not an accident. It was a calculated act that he planned,” said Hanna.

Crusius also faces a potential death penalty in a separate state case, in which he has pleaded not guilty to capital murder, according to the report. The state trial is expected to be held sometime in 2024 or 2025.

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