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Attorneys for El Paso Walmart shooting suspect entered a not guilty plea in response to federal charges

Attorneys for the man accused of killing 22 people at a Walma...

Posted: Feb 13, 2020 3:32 AM

Attorneys for the man accused of killing 22 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, last year have pleaded not guilty to 90 federal charges on his behalf, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in Texas said.

Wednesday, Patrick Crusius walked inside an El Paso federal courtroom for the first time after being indicted last week on hate crimes and firearm charges in connection with the August 3 massacre.

He appeared before US Magistrate Judge Miguel Torres wearing a suit, handcuffed and in shackles and remained silent as several people who survived the shooting sat in the courtroom, CNN affiliate KFOX reported.

Later Wednesday, Crusius' attorneys filed a written not guilty plea to all charges and waived his right to a detention hearing, meaning he will remain in custody without bond.

Speaking to reporters outside the federal court, Crusius' attorney David Lane said, "All I can say is we are starting this process and our job is to protect your constitutional rights as well that of the accused."

"We are going to do everything in our power to preserve protect and defend the constitution of the United States of America," he added, KFOX reported.

CNN has reached out to Crusius' attorneys for comment.

The alleged shooter is facing hate crimes resulting in death, hate crimes involving an attempt to kill, use of a firearm to commit murder and in relation to a crime of violence, and use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, according to his indictment.

The charges relate to the 22 people who were killed in the mass shooting as well as 23 other victims who survived.

Federal prosecutors have said the alleged shooter could face the death penalty on each of the charges linked to the people who were killed and up to life in prison for the charges involving the surviving victims.

He previously pleaded not guilty to a state capital murder charge. El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza has said he intends to seek the death penalty. Capital murder is the most serious charge in Texas and prosecutors can use it when a defendant is accused of killing multiple victims.

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