(EL PASO, Texas) — The El Paso Walmart gunman was formally sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences for the racist 2019 massacre that killed 23 people and injured nearly two dozen others, according to El Paso ABC affiliate KVIA.
Judge David Guaderrama handed down the sentence on Friday after hearing two days of emotional impact statements from victims and the family members of victims.
The gunman, 24-year-old Patrick Crusius, pleaded guilty in February to dozens of federal hate crimes and firearms charges.
Crusius allegedly told investigators following his arrest that he set out to kill as many Mexicans as he could after driving from his home in Allen, Texas, about 650 miles east of El Paso, officials said.
Twenty-two shooting victims died within days of the attack, while a 23rd person died eight months later. There were also 22 people injured in the attack.
In a statement given on behalf of Crusius prior to the sentencing, defense attorney Joe Spencer claimed his client suffered from a severe mental illness called schizoaffective disorder that led him to commit the horrific act, KVIA reported.
Dozens of victims and family members were in El Paso federal court for the sentencing hearing, which began on Wednesday.
Dean Reckard’s mother, Margie Reckard, was among those killed.
When Dean Reckard took the stand on Thursday, he confronted Crusius, saying, “You’re young and stupid. You made a bad choice. You’re beyond pathetic,” according to KVIA.
When Dean Reckard asked, “Are you sorry you did it?” Crusius reportedly nodded “yes,” according to KVIA.
Dee Margo, who was the mayor of El Paso when the mass shooting occurred, was also in the courtroom.
“The killer, the whole time, he showed very little emotion whatsoever. He did not look over at any of the victims or their families,” Margo told reporters outside the courthouse on Wednesday.
Crusius had initially pleaded not guilty to the federal charges, but requested a rearraignment hearing after federal prosecutors agreed to not seek the death penalty in their case.
He pleaded guilty to 90 federal charges, including 23 counts for hate crime acts that resulted in death, 22 hate crime acts that caused bodily injury, 23 counts of using a firearm in a federal crime of violence resulting in death and 22 counts of using a firearm in a federal crime of violence.
Following the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, Crusius will face a restitution hearing on Sept. 25, KVIA reported.
Crusius is also facing capital murder charges in state court. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks told reporters Thursday he still plans to seek the death penalty in that case, which could go to trial as soon as next year. A jury would ultimately decide whether Crusius faces the death penalty, Hicks said.
“I am committed to seeking justice for the people of this community,” Hicks said.
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