Patrick Crusius has been handed over to Texas authorities ahead of his state trial, in which he will face the death penalty for killing 23 and wounding 22 others at an El Paso Walmart in 2019.
According to El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks, Crusius wasn’t expected to be released into state custody by federal authorities until this fall, KFOX 14 reported.
The 24-year-old from Allen was already handed 90 consecutive life sentences by a federal judge last week for hate crimes involving an attempt to kill, hate crimes resulting in death, use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence, as previously covered in The Dallas Express.
Although the federal court did not pursue the death penalty, Hicks has been adamant that state prosecutors will.
“When he comes back to our custody he will be going to trial and we will seek the death penalty,” Hicks said, according to KFOX 14.
During the federal trial, Crusius’ defense attorneys claimed that the death penalty was inappropriate in his case because he allegedly has severe neurological and mental disabilities, as The Dallas Express reported.
They further alleged that Crusius had been found in a psychotic state after the shooting and was given medication after being taken into custody, according to CNN.
Ultimately, an El Paso jury will decide whether Crusius will be put to death.
Both the charges and the sentences stemming from the federal and state trials are considered separately.
“So even though he’s pled guilty on the federal charges, [the state has] different charges. The fact that he’s pled guilty over here does not mean he has not pled guilty on our charges. He’s actually pled not guilty. So we have to prove our charges beyond a reasonable doubt,” Hicks explained, according to KTSM 9 News.
Judge Nadia Medrano now has to set a trial date for Crusius, which Hicks had initially hoped would “be somewhere in 2024 or 2025,” according to KFOX 14.
He has since said that with Crusius being released so quickly and now in custody in El Paso, the trial might happen sooner than he thought.
“We’re very excited about that,” Hicks said, according to KTSM 9 News.