The suspect who was accused of killing 22 people in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in 2019 has pleaded “not guilty” to 90 charges, among them hate crimes and murder.
On Wednesday, Patrick Crusius, 21, appeared before magistrate judge Miguel Torres in the El Paso federal court, where federal charges against him over the August 3, 2019 incident were formally read, according to the reports.
David Lane, Crusius’ defence attorney said, “We are going to do everything in our power to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America”.
Crusius, who didn’t speak, refused to listen to the 90 counts – 22 of using a firearm to commit murder, 22 of committing hate crimes resulting in death, 23 of using a firearm in a crime and 23 of committing a hate crime with intention to kill.
The judge only allowed him to shave and dress in a suit but insisted that his hands and feet be cuffed in a session that allowed no access to cameras or microphones, but did allow relatives of the victims because it was a federal case.
The next hearing is scheduled for February 18, but Lane said he would look for a way for neither him nor his client to appear.
Crusius had already pleaded “not guilty” in October 2019 over homicide state charges in connection with the killing.
The massacre happened at a Walmart store near the Cielo Vista Mall, a few miles from the US-Mexico border last year in August.
US President Donald Trump had also condemned the mass shooting incident at a Walmart store in Texas and called it an act of cowardice.
Trump said that there is no justification for the killing of innocent people.
“There are no reasons or excuses that will even justify the killing of innocent people”, he added.
“Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas was not only tragic, but it was also an act of cowardice,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
University Medical Center of El Paso received 13 patients, including one who died, hospital spokesperson Ryan Mielke said.
Some of the patients were in surgery while others were in stable condition, he added.
(With inputs from agency)