This tragic incident stands as one of the deadliest attacks targeting Latinos in modern US history. On Friday, the judge accepted the prosecution's recommendation, which called for Crusius, aged 24, to receive consecutive life sentences for each of the 90 federal charges he pleaded guilty to, including hate crimes and firearms offenses.
Throughout the hearing, the shooter displayed no emotion, gazing forward, as he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. During the approximately 40-minute hearing, Crusius' defense attorney presented an allocution, which is a formal address on behalf of the defendant to the court.
Defense lawyer Joe Spencer told the court Crusius took responsibility for the harm he had caused and that his rampage was due to severe mental illness.
“Patrick will leave prison in a coffin. The only question is, will it be on God’s time or man’s time?” Spencer said.
The prosecution vehemently rejected the defense attorney’s assertion, with one US attorney calling Crusius a “vessel of insidious violence” and “danger to us all.”
Federal prosecutor Ian Martinez Hanna told the court the racist massacre was “premeditated with every detail laid out in a document of his creation.”
As Crusius was escorted out of the courtroom, some victims’ relatives yelled at him.
“We’ll be seeing you again, coward,” said Dean Reckard, who lost his mother, Margie. “No apologies, no nothing, you’re a b*tch.”
The sentencing, delivered on Friday, marks the initial phase of punishment for Crusius. He now confronts the possibility of receiving the death penalty in a state case, where he has pleaded not guilty to the charge of capital murder.
Spencer later told reporters his client is not a racist but instead suffers from a “broken brain” and “history of severe mental illness.”
“This isn’t something we invented … this is something that has been in the works since childhood. This has been documented,” Spencer said.
Throughout the ongoing sentencing hearing that commenced on Wednesday, Crusius has been confronted by numerous family members of the victims and survivors who have expressed their anguish through victim impact statements. These statements have provided powerful accounts of the enduring consequences caused by the shooter's actions.
Some victims’ family members became tearful as they confronted Crusius for the first time in court, vilifying him as an “ignorant coward,” an “evil parasite,” a “monster” and “a racist.”
Authorities say Crusius rampaged through the El Paso Walmart with the sole intention of killing Mexican people and immigrants. At least eight of those killed were Mexican nationals, according to Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard.
It is believed that Crusius, shortly before carrying out the shooting, published an online document filled with hateful content, expressing xenophobic and White supremacist ideologies.
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