EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks said Walmart shooter Patrick Crusius is in state custody as of 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 11.
Hicks says that Crusius will remain in El Paso until the state trial. The date for that trial has not been set yet.
Previously, Hicks had said he was hoping for 2024 or 2025. KTSM 9 News asked Hicks if having the federally convicted shooter in state custody could mean a sooner trial date.
“As far it as does, it moves our trial date forward. (But) that’s up to the judge, Judge Medrano, in 409th, will set our trial date, but it does certainly move our calendar a little bit more advanced than what I had originally thought. We’re very excited about that,” Hicks said.
Crusius pleaded guilty to federal hate-crime charges in connection with the Cielo Vista Walmart shooting on Aug. 3, 2019, in which 23 people were killed and more than 20 more were injured.
After two days of hearings last week in federal court, District Court Judge David Guaderrama sentenced Crusius to 90 consecutive life terms.
Guaderrama has also recommended that Crusius be sent to the Supermax prison near Florence, Colorado.
Hicks explains that while all protocol was followed in the federal hearing, the shooter will remain in a state prison.
“The federal judge treated it just like he does any other case. He makes a sentencing recommendation and he does everything like he would any other case. Nothing about that hearing was unusual or out of the ordinary for federal procedure purposes,” Hicks said.
He explained that the federal government essentially borrowed the shooter for the federal hearing from the state.
“However, it’s very important to understand the ability of the federal government to hold him,” Hicks said.
He even said after the state trial, Crusius will go to a state prison unless it is agreed upon for him to go to a federal prison.
“The only way he would go to a federal penitentiary is a convoluted situation where if he received life in prison in the state system, and then if we agreed that he should go to a federal prison instead of a state prison. But if he receives life in prison, in a state trial, in our trial, then he will be sentenced to serve that sentence in a state prison facility, and he will go to a Texas prison facility,” Hicks said.
Hicks has said he hopes for an El Paso jury to hear the state trial. He also broke down the differences between federal and state charges.
“So even though he’s pled guilty on the federal charges, we (the state) have different charges. The fact that he’s pled guilty over here does not mean he has not pled guilty on our charges. He’s actually pled not guilty. So we have to prove our charges beyond a reasonable doubt,” Hicks said.