Three days after the horrific massacre at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, the accused gunman Patrick Crusius still has not been arraigned in court.
As a result, there’s been no sight of the 21-year-old defendant since he was arrested outside the Walmart where 22 people were killed.
Crusius’s arraignment – where he will be asked how he pleads – won’t take place until the investigation of the shooting concludes, Claudia Duran, a spokeswoman for the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office, said Tuesday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been leading the investigation. That includes the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism-Hate Crimes Cell, which is investigating the case as a potential hate crime and act of domestic terrorism.
Crusius, of Allen, Texas, appeared before an El Paso magistrate Sunday at 2:28 a.m., some 16 hours after the shooting, where he was informed of the capital murder charges filed against him. In Texas, defendants convicted of capital murder can be sentenced to execution.
The magistrate chose not to remand Crusius without bond.
John Bash, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, has said federal prosecutors are treating the El Paso shooting as a case of domestic terrorism and “seriously considering” charging Crusius with federal hate crime and firearm charges.
Crusius is suspected of posting an anti-immigrant manifesto online that warned of an “Hispanic invasion of Texas” prior to the shooting rampage in the heavily Hispanic border city.
The court Monday appointed Mark Stevens, a prominent defense attorney from San Antonio, to represent Crusius. Stevens did not respond to a message from USA TODAY asking how Crusius will plead.
Source: USA Today