EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Federal prosecutors told a judge Wednesday they are still unsure whether the government will pursue the death penalty against alleged August 3 shooter Patrick Crusius.

A trial date has not been set, but a jury trial will not happen for at least another year. Federal prosecutors are looking to hold a trial by June 2023.

However, Crusius’ attorneys argue the earliest date they’d be willing to go to trial is March 2025.

“It’s about making sure that we are constitutionally prepared to try the case so it doesn’t get to be tried again,” Joe Spencer, one of Crusius’ attorneys said outside of the federal courthouse. “So, we can bring judicial finality to the community as well as make sure that Patrick’s rights are constitutionally protected.”

Federal prosecutor Ian Martinez Hanna declined comment after Wednesday’s hearing.

Judge David Guaderrama will now decide when the trial will be held and is expected to make a final decision by the end of 2022. He acknowledged there is an interest in seeing the case be brought to court.

“It’s not lost on the court,” he said. “I am cognizant of that.”

Defense attorney Spencer says any trial date before March 2025 would deny Crusius a fair trial and would deny him due process.

When asked about what the case was about, Crusius’ attorney said it was about saving his life.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Spencer said.

Attorney Joe Spencer outside of the federal courthouse on Feb. 16, 2022

The State’s case against Crusius is also still pending. In a statement released to KTSM in November, District Attorney Yvonne Rosales said her office is ready for trial as soon as a jury pool can be safely assembled.

Crusius, the alleged shooter at the Cielo Vista Walmart on August 3, 2019, shot and killed 23 people and injured 23 others more than two years ago, presumably with an AK-47 style rifle.

During the hearing in judge Guaderrama’s court, Spencer said his team still needs time to go through over one million files and 3,000 minutes of video.

Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice have treated the case like they are pursuing the death penalty, according to prosecutor Ian Hanna. He said the government should be able to make a decision on whether to seek the capital punishment by the end of the year.

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