El Paso Walmart shooting case gets new district attorney

FILE - Mourners visit a makeshift memorial on Aug. 12, 2019, near the Walmart in El Paso, Texas, where people were killed in a mass shooting. On Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, a Texas prosecutor, facing mounting criticism over the handling of the 2019 Walmart mass shooting in El Paso, resigned after the county took the extraordinary step of moving to remove her from elected office. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio, File) (Cedar Attanasio, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

EL PASO, Texas – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday named a new El Paso district attorney after the previous one resigned under mounting pressure over the handling of the 2019 Walmart attack that left 23 people dead and has yet to go to trial.

Abbott said Bill Hicks, a former judge and prosecutor, would “restore confidence" in El Paso after county officials last month took the extraordinary step of seeking to remove their elected district attorney. The Walmart shooting has put the office under scrutiny as the suspected gunman, Patrick Crusius, faces the death penalty if convicted.

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Yvonne Rosales, a Democrat, resigned as her job came under jeopardy over accusations of incompetence involving hundreds of cases in El Paso and slowing down the case against Crusius, who has pleaded not guilty.

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal, whose office sought to remove Rosales, said prosecutors “could not even tell the court what work had been done" recently when it came to the Walmart shooting.

Crusius was arrested soon after the Aug. 3, 2019, shooting. Police later said he confessed to driving to the border city from his home near Dallas to target Mexicans. Soon before the attack, he posted a racist screed online that railed against Hispanics coming to the U.S., according to prosecutors.

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