Patrick Crusius, the white supremacist who pleaded guilty to federal charges after killing 23 people at an El Paso Walmart in 2019, was sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences in prison, the El Paso Times reports.
Crusius changed his plea to guilty in February after federal prosecutors told the court they would not seek the death penalty. In total, Crusius pleaded guilty to 90 federal charges, including 45 hate crimes. Prosecutors said Crusius carried out the attack because he believed Mexicans and other Hispanics “were to blame” and that “he was trying to defend his country.”
Crusius is still facing state charges in connection to the 2019 mass shooting, including one count of capital murder of multiple persons and 22 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks previously said the state would be seeking the death penalty. A trial date hasn’t been set yet. Hicks said he believed Crusius would be transferred from federal to state custody by the fall.
“We originally thought we would have him in our custody a little sooner in August,” Hicks said. “It looks like it will be October, maybe November, until we have him back in our custody. We have waited four years to prosecute him. Waiting another couple of months is not going to change anything.”
Before Crusius’ federal sentence was officially handed down, the court heard fraught, emotional testimony from survivors and victims’ families. One survivor, Genesis Davila, was 12 at the time of the shooting and was at the Walmart with her soccer team trying to raise money for a trip; Davila’s father was shot in the leg, while her coach, Guillermo “Memo” Garcia, died several weeks later from gunshot wounds.
“I want you dead. I hate you so much,” Davila said in court. “I want you to rot in jail for eternity. You came to our community uninvited.”
Bertha Benevides, whose husband, Arturo, was killed, said, “[Arturo] changed my whole life. He was my life. He was a wonderful, loving man. We never had children, so you left me alone. I miss him terribly. He was a loving husband. He was my support. I ask why did you do it, but then I answer that myself. You never knew the Lord. You never knew the Lord. If you did, you would never have done this. You destroyed so many families.”
On Thursday, July 6, Dean Reckard — whose mother Margie, was killed in the shooting — addressed Crusius directly and called out some of his behavior during the hearings. “The past few days, I have seen you smile, roll your eyes and mumble to yourself,” Reckard said. “You haven’t showed any signs of remorse. You really haven’t.”
Reckard then asked Crusius, “Are you sorry for what you did?” The gunman reportedly nodded his head.
Another survivor, 13-year-old Kaitlyn Melendez, whose grandfather, David Johnson, died shielding her and her grandmother, said, “I imagine every day, everywhere I go, that there might be a gunman. You are not a monster; you are the devil. I will never forgive you. I hope you get no mercy. I hope your family gets no mercy.”