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Sentencing of El Paso Walmart gunman begins

Annabella Mireles
El Pasoans at the Vigil held at Ponder Park the day of the shooting August 3, 2019.

[Update]: The third and final day of the federal sentencing for Crusius has now concluded and his legal fate has been sealed.  

Crusius was given 90 consecutive life sentences and is expected to serve those years in ADX Florence, a maximum-security facility, as requested by the judge. The self-described white nationalist was also requested to receive mental health treatment during his time in prison as well. 

Once again, although he is receiving life sentences on a federal level, the state will be pursuing the death penalty on that level of sentencing. Any further updates will most likely come at dates farther in the future. 

[Update]: Day two of the three day sentencing for Crusius is now over as the court adjourned at 2:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. While the official sentencing for Crusius did start July 5, the focal point of both Wednesday and Thursday was the impact statements given by victims and victim’s loved ones. 

The day began with U.S. District Judge David Guaderrama listing off 90 counts of federal hate crimes to Crusius who is now facing 90 consecutive life sentences. 

Multiple people approached the stand and spoke on behalf of family members or friends who were killed that day. Individuals presented many different demeanors when they addressed Crusius and condemned him for his actions.  

Kathleen Johnson, who lost her husband David Johnson as he shielded her and their family, did not want to look at Crusius when she addressed him. 

“I don’t even want to look at you,” Johnson said. “You did not take away the memory of David Johnson or the light.” 

David’s brother, Raymond Aguirre, hit Crusius where he knew he would be most bothered. 

“You look Hispanic. You look Mexican. You look more Hispanic every day,” Aguirre said.  

This apparently left Crusius looking visibly distraught, and Aguirre continued on. 

“You missed,” Aguirre said. “You hit the whitest man in El Paso. You hit the white man you were not able to see in the mirror.” 

The impact statements given today were similar and consisted of victims berating Crusius or emphasizing how little worth he is to society as well as not being able to beat the strength of El Paso as a whole.  

Today was the final day of impact statements and the formal sentencing will be held tomorrow, July 7, at 10 a.m. Crusius will not be addressing the judge who will instead receive the statement from his attorney Joe Spencer. 

After court adjourned, El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks made a statement on the case and how the federal sentencing will not affect the state sentencing. He said that it will be up to an El Paso jury as to whether Crusius gets the death penalty 

“When he comes back to our custody he will be going to trial and we will seek the death penalty,” Hicks said.  

Hicks also stated that Judge Sam Medrano will set a trial date that is estimated to either 2024 or 2025.


The man behind the Walmart mass shooting that took place Aug. 3, 2019, Patrick Crusius, is returning to court four years later to receive his sentencing for the 23 lives he took that day. While his motivations for the shooting were heavily debated over the first few days after the massacre, it was later confirmed that the attack was in fact a hate crime.  

All the media that Crusius consumed and shared on online spaces spewed anti-immigration rhetoric. Examples of this included things like him following “#BuildtheWall” on Twitter or praising then President Donald J. Trump’s strict border policies. Even 20 minutes before the shooting, Crusius mentioned how his actions would be “in response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas” in an online message board.  

Now, July 5, 2023, Crusius is anticipated to receive multiple life sentences because he pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes and weapon charges. While the federal government may have taken the death penalty off the table, the same cannot be said of Texas prosecutors who could still pursue lethal injection in state court.  

 Federal prosecutors acknowledge that Crusius was affected by mental health problems such as schizoaffective disorder, it is still unsure how this will play into the sentencing. 

In terms of what this case could mean for not only the El Paso community, but the nation, there are multiple factors that can and will impact the types of violence enacted on migrants and Latines as a whole. 

Crusius can still face the death penalty if convicted of the murder charges in state court but the knowledge of when this will proceed is to be determined.

More updates on the sentencing process will be posted as they come out. 

Meagan Garcia is the arts & culture editor and may be reached at [email protected]. 

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About the Contributors
Meagan Elizabeth García
Meagan Elizabeth García, Arts & Culture Editor
Meagan Elizabeth García is the arts and culture for The Prospector. She is a senior, majoring in mechanical engineering at UTEP. She is also the vice-president for the Creative Writing Society with hopes of continuing a writing career while also working for NASA as an engineer.
Annabella Mireles
Annabella Mireles, Photo Editor
Annabella Mireles is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in digital media production and minoring in film. She is the photo editor at the Prospector newspaper and Minero magazine as well as owning her own photography business. She plans on pursuing photography full time.
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Sentencing of El Paso Walmart gunman begins