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Death Penalty Pursued for Patrick Wood Crusius in 2019 TX Mass Shooting - Page 4
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Thread: Death Penalty Pursued for Patrick Wood Crusius in 2019 TX Mass Shooting

  1. #31
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    Accused Walmart shooter’s defense seeks to add 3rd lawyer amid ‘staggering’ amount of evidence to review

    EL PASO, Texas - Claiming a "staggering" amount of evidence to wade through for the future trial of accused El Paso Walmart shooter Patrick Wood Crusius, his defense has now asked to add a third lawyer to their team.

    The motion filed with a judge on Thursday, a copy of which was obtained by ABC-7 on Friday, seeks to have well-known El Paso criminal attorney Felix Valenzuela join existing defense lawyers Mark Stevens of San Antonio and Joe Spencer of El Paso in representing Crusius.

    Valenzuela has worked with Spencer previously, most notably in successfully defending Daniel Villegas in what was a high-profile El Paso murder case spanning over two decades that ended with Villegas' acquittal in his third trial late last year.

    The motion claims Valenzuela is needed in Crusius' case because “the amount of work this case requires is staggering, and it would be impossible for first and second chair to carry out all of the tasks required of defense counsel, even with the assistance of investigators and other experts."

    In making the case for an addition of a third defense attorney, Stevens and Spencer maintained "it would be fundamentally unfair to require the defense to proceed with only two attorneys as counsel of record, when the State of Texas has appeared at every court setting with between three and five attorneys and has at its disposal ninety lawyers at the El Paso District Attorney’s Office, including an entire appellate division, as well as numerous state and federal investigative agencies.”

    Because Crusius is indigent and has qualified for legal representation at public expense, the court must approve the addition of Valenzuela to the defense.

    In the motion, Crusius' defense team said it has received thousands upon thousands of files from prosecutors that need to be reviewed and noted that “the obligations of defense counsel in capital proceedings are significantly greater than in a standard criminal case, and this case is particularly complex.”

    More than 11,000 evidence files and 600 gigabytes of computer data has been turned over to date, including medical records from local hospitals that treated the mass shooting victims and witness interview statements.

    In their motion, Stevens and Spencer said they expect prosecutors will be turning over a significant amount of additional evidence that will also need to be reviewed before the defense is ready for trial.

    “Defense counsel fully anticipate that yet more discovery will be forthcoming and that the State will not truly have complied with its discovery obligations for many, many months to come, given the vast investigative resources the prosecution has devoted to this case at both the state and federal levels,” the motion reads.

    No date has yet been set for Crusius' trial on a charge of capital murder stemming from the Aug. 3 mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart store that killed 22 people and left dozens more wounded. Prosecutors have said they intend to seek the death penalty for what is believed to have been a racially-motivated attack that targeted Mexicans and Hispanics.

    https://kvia.com/news/crime/2019/12/...nce-to-review/
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  2. #32
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    When is the (possible if not scheduled) next trial date?

  3. #33
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    El Paso Walmart shooting suspect faces hate crime charges, source says

    The man accused of killing 22 people and wounding two dozen more in a shooting that targeted Mexicans in the border city of El Paso, Texas, has been charged with federal hate crimes, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

    Federal prosecutors were expected to announce multiple charges against the suspected gunman, Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas, later Thursday at a news conference in El Paso, according to the person, who had direct knowledge of the case but was not authorized to disclose details of the indictment before the official announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.

    A manifesto attributed to the suspect in the Aug. 3 shooting, during a busy back-to-school shopping day, said the attack was aimed at scaring Hispanics into leaving the United States.

    The shooting happened at a time when immigration officials were trying to manage a crush of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and there was political battle over their treatment. El Paso was the epicenter of the influx. President Donald Trump has made cracking down on immigration a hallmark of his administration and the polarizing topic makes headlines around the world.

    RELATED: El Paso shooting: Community mourns 22 dead in Walmart shooting at Cielo Vista Mall, including 8 citizens of Mexico

    Eight Mexican nationals were among the victims of the attack at a Walmart store popular with shoppers in nearby Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just on the other side of the Rio Grande from El Paso.

    David Lane, a Colorado-based lawyer representing Crusius in the federal case, said Thursday morning that he has not yet seen the indictment but hopes federal prosecutors don't seek his client's execution.

    "Part of the evolution of our society involves understanding that justice is not synonymous with vengeance, because vengeance disregards the essential humanity in all of us and brutalizes us all," Lane said. "Part of my job here is to hopefully convince the Department of Justice that they are not the department of vengeance."

    Crusius, 21, is facing the death penalty on a state capital murder charge. He pleaded not guilty last year.

    The federal indictment comes as El Paso marks the six-month anniversary of the shooting. Last weekend, the commuter town of San Elizario planted 22 oak trees in honor of the victims. Local news outlets aired remembrances.

    The federal charge follows Crusius' state indictment last fall on a capital murder charge, which could also bring a death sentence. He has been held without bond since the shooting and kept isolated from other prisoners, on suicide watch for at least two months after the shooting.

    Crusius surrendered to police after the attack at a busy Walmart, saying, "I'm the shooter," and that he was targeting Mexicans, according to an arrest warrant.

    In court documents, prosecutors said Crusius published a screed online shortly before the shooting that said it was "in response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas." It cited, as inspiration, a mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed scores of Muslim residents of that country.

    The document parroted some of Trump's immigration policy rhetoric. El Paso residents such as former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination this year, accused Trump of promoting harmful stereotypes and fueling the idea that the increase in migrant crossings was a coordinated "invasion" by Latinos. The president has denied inciting violence.

    Crusius drove more than 10 hours from his grandparents' house in a Dallas suburb to El Paso to carry out the attack, according to police. A lawyer for Crusius' family declined to comment Thursday.

    The charges being announced Thursday are the latest by federal prosecutors following high-profile violent incidents. The Justice Department has brought federal hate crimes charges against a man suspected in a Hanukkah machete attack in New York in December that wounded five people; a man who opened fire at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last year; and a man who killed a woman when he drove into a crowd of protesters at a 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    https://abc11.com/5908578/
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  4. #34
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    El Paso Walmart shooting victim dies, death toll now 23

    By Cedar Assanasio
    Associated Press

    EL PASO, Teas (AP) A man shot in the Aug. 3 attack targeting Latinos in an El Paso Walmart died after months in the hospital, raising the death toll from the attack to 23, according to a hospital official.

    After a nearly nine-month fight, our hearts are heavy as we report Guillermo Memo Garcia, our last remaining patient being treated from the El Paso shooting, has passed away, said Del Sol Medical Center CEO David Shimp.

    Garcia and his wife Jessica Coca Garcia were fundraising for their daughters soccer team in the Walmart parking lot when the suspected gunman opened fire that Saturday morning.

    Garcia is survived by his wife, who suffered leg wounds but recovered. A week after the shooting, she rose from her wheelchair to give a speech across the road from the county jail where the suspected shooter was being held.

    Racism is something I always wanted to think didnt exist. Obviously, it does, she said.

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  5. #35
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    El Paso shooter faces additional count for 23rd death; injuries will also be added to indictment

    Incoming DA will decide whether the case of Patrick Crusius should be moved to federal court.

    Patrick Crusius, the gunman accused of the deadliest attack on Latinos in U.S. history, is expected to be reindicted Thursday to face additional counts of murder to reflect the latest victim, who died nine months after the shooting, said District Attorney Jaime Esparza.

    The new indictments come as the city and country face old racial wounds, with the approaching Aug. 3 anniversary of the massacre rekindling memories all too fresh and fears of copy cats all too real.

    In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, Esparza said Crusius, 21 at the time of the shooting and a resident of Allen, will also face additional counts related to the dozens of people injured in the shooting. He said theyll be added to the indictment before the grand jurys term ends June 30.

    Esparza, whose 28 years in office end Dec. 31, said he hopes the additional counts in the indictment will help ensure continuity in the case and ultimately lead to justice for the community should his successor choose to pursue the state case against Crusius.

    Voters will elect a new DA in a runoff election July 14th the Democrat will not face an opponent in the fall just one of several factors that will help answer key legal and financial questions, including when and where the trial may begin.

    Were reindicting the defendant to include the additional death and to include all of those injured in the Walmart shooting in order to give the next DA all of their options, said Esparza,, the longest-serving DA in El Pasos history. We just want to cover all our bases.

    Crusius already faces state charges of 1 count of capital murder of multiple persons. He also faces multiple counts of federal hate crimes announced by U.S. Attorney John F. Bash last February.

    Crusius, through his attorneys, has pleaded not guilty in state and federal court, although police say he did confess to them after the shootings.

    Federal and state authorities say Crusius drove about 800 miles over 10 hours from North Texas to hunt down Mexicans. After the shooting, investigators found a racist manifesto posted online that they say was written and posted by Crusius as he sat inside his car on a quiet Saturday morning in the Walmart parking lot.

    Minutes later, at about 10:38 a.m., he headed toward the store and started blasting away with his high-power weapon, killing 22 people on his way into and through the sprawling supercenter, long a magnet for shoppers from both sides of the border.

    In the manifesto, described by some experts as a racist rant, the writer railed against the Hispanic invasion of Texas.

    One of the shooting victims was Guillermo Memo Garcia, 36, a soccer coach, who underwent more than 50 operations after the attack. He died in April, never having left the intensive care unit. His death raised the toll from the shooting to 23.

    Because of the number of victims, and now the coronavirus pandemic, the El Paso County court backlog has increased, delaying the trial for a year or longer, perhaps until 2022, as the country debates judicial reforms and the use of the death penalty, Esparza said.

    The upcoming presidential election also may affect who fills the post of U.S. attorney general, and that could determine how the federal case unfolds thereafter.

    El Paso shooter faces 90 federal counts, including hate crime charges that could bring death penalty

    Esparza did say theres a rare upside to the pandemic, at least in the state case. What the virus has allowed us to do is spend a lot of time on this case, he said. It helped us focus that much more on the case.

    Both candidates vying to replace Esparza Democrats James Montoya and Yvonne Rosales agree that Crusius should face the death penalty. But both candidates diverge on how they would pursue the case.

    Montoya has indicated he favors having the DA pursue the case, which may cost El Paso taxpayers at least $7 million. Rosales has said she prefers that the federal government handle all aspects of the case.

    Esparza told county commissioners last year his sister was at the Walmart when the shooting erupted, but said this has not affected the way he has pursued the case. He did concede in the interview that the crime scene dealt him the most difficult moment of his career.

    Its a horrific crime, said Esparza, who for weeks after the shooting would pause at 10:38 on Saturday mornings to remember the victims. Not just to those who lost their lives or those who were injured, but to the entire community.

    The revised indictment comes as the country grapples with renewed tough talk over racial wounds arising out of the Black Lives Matter protests and as the one-year anniversary of the massacre approaches.

    Here, the massacre hangs like a long shadow over a stunned yet resilient community, looking for healing as it fights a pandemic so persistent we have forgotten about our grieving process, said El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego. We want to remind the world this will not take over our lives and yet we also want everyone to know the importance of no one forgetting what happened in El Paso, Texas.

    Efforts are under way, Samaniego said, to mark the solemn anniversary with several events, including building a special memorial at Ascarate Park with financial help from both sides of the border. The memorial would serve as a healing garden and pay tribute not just to the victims, but the binational community as well.

    8 people killed in the shooting were Mexican citizens, putting President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in an awkward spot as his government pushes for justice on behalf of the victims without meddling in the investigation of a shooting that critics say was spawned, in part, by the anti-immigrant language use by President Donald Trump.

    Samaniego says, for now, he has not taken a position on whether the state or federal courts should proceed with the murder case, saying: Ultimately, Im for whatever sends the strongest message about how we feel and what needs to happen and how this should be taken care of. Whatever that is, were just going to figure it out together.

    U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio and chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said the caucus, which lately has been focused on issues like migrant detention camps and separation of families, is widening the scope of its advocacy, in part inspired by the events of Aug. 3 in El Paso.

    The caucus is turning its focus on negative images and damaging stereotype of Hispanics, calling on Hollywood, the book publishing industry and media in general to check their conscience. And, he added, improve diversity and become more inclusive to ensure a more accurate portrayal of racial minorities, including Hispanics, as the nation gradually undergoes a minority-majority shift and as protests over racial inequalities continue to stir nationwide.

    Its important that as a nation, we look in the mirror and really think about how we are perceiving different groups of people, and whether our understanding is really correct, Castro said. As a community we know who we are. And were not who that man [Crusius] thought we were. The Hispanic community has made significant contributions to the well-being of this country and have been here for generations.

    One of the protesters who has recently taken to the streets in El Paso is guitarist Texas Hart, 24, who along with his trio of accompanying singers questions what he calls glaring differences between the arrest and subsequent brutal death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer of George Floyd, for allegedly passing a fake $20 bill, and the Walmart shooter.

    In between singing old Bob Dylan songs, Hart said, Its just puzzling to me why a white man with hateful intentions goes into a Walmart with a weapon designed for war, shoots 60-plus people and kills 23 and he is safely apprehended by police where he is still in their custody, still safely in their custody, while Floyd is dead and were in the streets demanding justice.

    (source: Dallas Morning News)
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  6. #36
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    Lawyer: El Paso shooting suspect has mental disabilities

    Lawyers for a man charged with shooting scores of people in a racist attack at a Texas Walmart say their client has diagnosed mental disabilities that should be a red flag for federal prosecutors considering whether to seek the death penalty.

    Patrick Crusius has been diagnosed with severe, lifelong neurological and mental disabilities and was treated with antipsychotic medication following his arrest moments after the massacre in El Paso, his attorneys wrote in a court filing.

    mental disabilities
    items.[0].image.alt
    FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2019 file photo, El Paso Walmart shooting suspect Patrick Crusius pleads not guilty during his arraignment in El Paso, Texas. Crusius attorneys said in a court filing that he has "severe, lifelong neurological and mental disabilities. They say the 21-year-old and was treated with anti-psychotic medication following his arrest moments after the massacre in El Paso that killed 23. (Briana Sanchez/El Paso Times via AP, Pool, File)
    Posted at 4:48 PM, Jul 13, 2020 and last updated 5:48 PM, Jul 13, 2020
    DALLAS (AP) Lawyers for a man charged with shooting scores of people in a racist attack at a Texas Walmart say their client has diagnosed mental disabilities that should be a red flag for federal prosecutors considering whether to seek the death penalty.

    Patrick Crusius has been diagnosed with severe, lifelong neurological and mental disabilities and was treated with antipsychotic medication following his arrest moments after the massacre in El Paso, his attorneys wrote in a court filing.

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    The shooting left dozens wounded and ultimately killed 23 people. Soon after it, Crusius lawyers say, jail mental health staff found the 21-year-old to be in a psychotic state.

    Crusius mental health conditions, which have not been previously reported, were revealed in a request by his lawyers for more time to investigate these mitigating themes because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The court record also states Crusius was in special education for much of his schooling, but does not elaborate on his mental health. A lawyer for his family, Christopher Ayres, declined to comment.

    Crusius was arrested soon after the Aug. 3 shooting. Police later said he confessed to driving to border city from his home near Dallas to target Mexicans. Soon before the attack, he posted a racist screed online that railed against Hispanics coming to the U.S., according to prosecutors.

    Crusius pleaded not guilty in a state case where prosecutors are seeking the death penalty but has not entered a plea to the scores of hate crime and gun charges he faces in federal court. A trial date has not been set in either case.

    Conviction on the federal charges could also come with a death sentence, and Crusius lawyers said in their Saturday court filing that prosecutors said theyll proceed with a decision about what sentence to seek by July 30.

    David Lane, a Colorado-based defense attorney, wrote that this schedule would violate Crusius constitutional rights because the virus has stalled their investigation of issues the government must consider.

    Lane, who is over 65, said safety concerns have blocked the defense team from doing in-person interviews since mid-March, including with Crusius, who is jailed without bond. He asked the judge to schedule a discussion of these issues for October.

    Federal prosecutors are opposing the request and have said the Attorney General will decide whether to seek the death penalty. They not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Lane declined to comment, saying the motion speaks for itself.

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  7. #37
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    Who should prosecute the El Paso Walmart shooting suspect? A year after the massacre, local and federal prosecutors still face hard decisions

    EL PASO When El Pasoans mark the one-year anniversary of the Walmart shooting Monday, attorney Yvonne Rosales will be one of hundreds of thousands of border residents reflecting on the tragedy afflicted on this city that claimed the lives of 23 people.



    But after the candlelight vigils dim, Rosales will be right back at the task shes been preparing for since she was confirmed as the countys incoming district attorney how to take over an office that could prosecute the man authorities say is responsible for one of the worst mass shootings in Texas history.

    Rosales, an El Paso native who graduated from Austin High School and the University of Texas El Paso, will replace Jaime Esparza who decided not to seek reelection after nearly three decades in office in January to become the county's first female district attorney.

    Rosales is inheriting one of the biggest criminal cases in the states history amid a pandemic thats shut down in-person court proceedings. She's also inheriting a huge decision: whether to pursue a death penalty prosecution in the city's biggest murder case.


    Federal prosecutors have also brought a litany of charges against Patrick Crusius, a 22-year-old from the Dallas suburb of Allen who authorities claim drove nearly 600 miles to target Hispanics; he allegedly posted a document online just before the shooting railing against immigrants and a "Hispanic invasion of Texas." Hes facing dozens of state and federal charges, including nearly two dozen counts of capital murder at the state level and 23 counts of hate crimes resulting in death and 23 involving an attempt to kill at the federal level.

    Esparza, the outgoing district attorney, said he would pursue the death penalty, while federal prosecutors have stated they would consider it upon conviction, but its unclear which case will proceed first and whether Crusius will be tried by both jurisdictions. Rosales said justice isnt likely to come soon because of the complexity of the case and the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.


    I really dont anticipate this case going to the trial [phase] until, I am guessing, between two to three years, she said.

    Before the coronavirus pandemic put a stranglehold on local economies, including El Pasos, Esparza said he was offended at the suggestion that the county should sit back and let federal officials take the lead in Crusius' prosecution in order to save the county millions in prosecution costs.





    Funding should never have a barrier in this prosecution, so I can tell you Im not going to hand it off to the feds just because its cheaper, Esparza said in February.

    That was before the pandemic ravaged El Paso County and the rest of Texas. After sealing her victory in last month's runoff election, Rosales said letting the U.S. attorneys office prosecute Crusius first would make financial sense for El Paso.
    "From a legal perspective, it would make more sense for the federal government to try the case first," she said, adding that the appeals process for federal cases is faster than state cases.
    "If youre going to talk economics, then it would save the county of El Paso millions of dollars to try that case," Rosales added. She said it's too soon to make that determination, and she plans to discuss the situation with both the state and federal judges after she takes office.




    Rosales said she must also consider whether the community and especially the victims families should be forced to relive the tragedy twice during two separate trials.





    As we approach the one year anniversary, its going to be a very emotional time for these people, she said. Is it something that we really want to put the families through a second time?





    Crusius's attorneys have already raised the issue of his mental health and said he has "lifelong neurological and mental disabilities, the Associated Press reported earlier this month. His lawyers said that should be taken into consideration when prosecutors consider what punishment they seek.





    Despite confessing to authorities that he was the gunman after his arrest the day of the shooting, Crusius has pleaded not guilty in both the state and federal cases. Federal prosecutors were scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss what punishment they would seek when the case moves forward. Defense attorney David Lane did not respond to a request for comment.









    In a emailed statement, John Bash, the U.S attorney for the Western District of Texas, said: I join all El Pasoans, all Texans, and all Americans in mourning those we lost that terrible day one year ago. And I pray for the continued healing of those who survived. My office will not relent in our pursuit of justice for the victims and our community. Bash declined to comment on any aspect of the prosecution.





    Robert Dunham, executive director of the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center, a non-profit think tank that analyzes the death penalty, said the case could be over quickly if prosecutors took the death penalty off the table.





    How important is it to make a statement to take his life?" he said. "How important is it to do that to protect the public, which can be done just as effectively with a sentence of life [in prison] without parole?





    Earlier this month in the parking lot of the Walmart, where the shooting began before the gunman entered the store, El Pasoans had a range of thoughts on what the accused gunman's fate should be.









    I dont think anyone should get the death penalty, said Stephanie Cordova. He needs to live so he can learn his lesson. What if he just wants to die?





    Her friend Joey Reynolds said that while hed usually agree with Cordova, the scale of the shooting and the number of lives lost justifies capital punishment.





    My personal belief, I think he should [face the death penalty], he said. A lot of [images] were shown online and I think that got to a lot of the younger generation. It would be nice to have some finalization."





    Domingo Soledad Nuez, who was raised in Chihuahua City in northern Mexico but has lived in El Paso for 20 years, said whether Crusius is executed or not won't make a difference in God's eyes.









    I cant say whether to kill him or lock him up for the rest of the life, he added. But he was already dead inside when he did what he did.





    The anniversary has already rekindled demands for action from lawmakers, especially Democrats who last year pleaded with Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session of the Texas Legislature to address gun violence. Those calls grew louder after another mass shooting just weeks later in Midland that took eight lives, including the shooter's.





    The El Paso shooting happened a day after Abbott's campaign sent out a mailer saying Texans would need to take matters into their own hands to defend the border.





    Abbott later said he spoke to members of El Paso's legislative delegation and told them that mistakes were made and course correction has been made, he said at the time. We will make sure that we work collaboratively in unification.









    The governor didn't call lawmakers back into session, instead opting for roundtable discussions in El Paso on gun violence.





    During a press call Monday with Moms Demand Action, a national gun-reform group with chapters across the country, U.S. Rep Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, said Texas Republicans who pushed for a special session on a transgender bathroom bill showed little interest in addressing what she called the more pressing issue of gun violence.





    Unfortunately we have yet to see any legislation taken up and really not much has changed, she said. And as you can imagine, it is very frustrating not just for me, but I hear all the time from constituents What are you going to do about this?





    State Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, said the states Democratic caucus has had a long-standing request for a special session on gun violence since before the Walmart shooting. But he said he did come away with the feeling that the task forces formed after the shooting were able to create some momentum on how to move forward next session and address issues like strengthening background checks and ensuring that information provided to gun sellers by potential owners is accurate.









    "The message I heard from the governor and from others was to build consensus around reform measures and then bring those forward, he said. I fully expect and anticipate that when we return, in whatever way it looks in January, that gun violence and community safety is going to be one of the major issues that is going to get tackled."





    Abbott spokesperson John Wittman said the El Paso shooting led to the creation of a domestic terrorism task force that recommended creating "domestic terrorism teams" comprised of Department of Public Safety special agents, as well as a "state intelligence assessment on domestic terrorism threats in Texas."





    Wittman said Thursday that the governor shares the citys grief and said lawmakers will act on other recommendations by the task force when lawmakers return to the Capitol next year.





    Our hearts forever remain with the victims, their families, and all those impacted by this senseless and hateful attack," he said in an email. "As Texas prepares for the upcoming session, we seek justice for all those harmed in this tragedy by passing laws to combat domestic terrorism in Texas.









    The city and county have planned events to commemorate the anniversary, including a drive-through candlelight vigil and a memorial at the city's history museum. Activist groups said they are also planning their own events. Fernando Garcia, the executive director of the El Paso-based Border Network for Human Rights, said his group will march to the Walmart from a nearby memorial service carrying 23 white crosses.





    "What is different from what were doing and from the county and the city is doing is were going to call it what it was, white supremacy," he said. "It was a racist attack against our community. It wasnt about mental health or about a disturbed individual. It was created by the hateful rhetoric by the president and others."

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  8. #38
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    Rep. Blanco against death penalty for accused Walmart gunman

    Now that the Borderland has endured a full year of disbelief, grief, anger and healing, our attention turns to justice.

    The man seen on video walking into the Cielo Vista Walmart toting an assault rifle on August 3, 2019 has been charged with murder and hate crimes at both the state and federal level.

    Just days after the massacre, longtime El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza announced he would pursue the death penalty. However, almost a month prior to the shooting, Esparza announced something else. After nearly 28 years in office, Esparza had decided not to seek reelection.

    In July, Yvonne Rosales captured the winner-take-all Democratic primary runoff election and will replace Esparza on January 1, 2021. Rosales has not yet officially decided if she, too, will seek the death penalty in this case.

    Prior to the 1-year anniversary of the mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart, CBS4 On Your Side conducted an extended interview with El Paso Rep. Csar Blanco on a variety of topics. One of the questions we asked Blanco is if he believes the accused gunman should be sentenced to die if he is eventually convicted of the crime.

    I'm personally against the death penalty. I think as a society we need to move away from individuals saying it's o.k. to kill another human being, said Blanco. I think this individual should spend the rest of his life in prison and I think justice will be served from that perspective.

    In February, the U.S. Attorneys office filed 90 counts, including hate crimes, against the accused gunman. Federal prosecutors may either seek the death penalty or life imprisonment. The final decision will be left up to the U.S. Attorney General.

    (source: CBS News)
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