Colorado shooting: Gunman who killed 5 people at LGBTQ+ club charged with hate crime


DENVER (AP) – Shooter Joe killed five people The man who endangered the lives of more than 40 other people at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs planned to plead guilty to new federal charges of hate crimes and firearms violations as part of a plea deal, according to court documents made public Tuesday. which would allow the defendant to avoid the death penalty. ,

Documents show 23-year-old Anderson Aldrich made a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to 50 hate crime charges and 24 firearms violations. Aldrich would receive a maximum of 190 years to life in prison under the proposed agreement, which requires a judge’s approval.

The Jan. 9 plea agreement was unsealed by the court after Aldrich pleaded not guilty in court during an initial appearance Tuesday afternoon. According to the agreement, the gun charge carries a maximum penalty of death.

eldritch sentenced to life imprisonment After pleading guilty last June to state charges of murder and 46 counts of attempted murder – one for each person at Club Q during the attack on November 19, 2022.

News of the new charges and planned settlement comes just days after federal prosecutors disclosed they will demand the death penalty In another case of hate crime – against a white supremacist who murdered 10 black people in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. The decision does not change Attorney General Merrick Garland’s moratorium on halting federal executions, but opens a new chapter in the long and complex history of the death penalty in America.

Ashtyn Gamblin, who was shot nine times and seriously wounded at Club Q, was in court for Tuesday’s hearing. He called the shooting a hate crime and said Aldrich should be charged as the person who carried it out.

Gamblin also said he told federal prosecutors that Aldrich should face the death penalty for his actions, even if the sentence was never carried out.

She said she wanted Aldrich to live with the thought of “not knowing when” or that he could die “any day or any time.”

eldritch, who is non binary and uses they/them pronouns, as well as pleaded no contest to state charges for hate crimes under a plea agreement. The plea was an admission that Aldrich had a good chance of being convicted of those crimes without admitting guilt. The arguments had the same weight as the conviction.

For Tuesday’s hearing, Aldrich appeared via video from an undisclosed location and was represented by David Kraut with the federal public defender’s office. Telephone and email messages left at Kraut’s office were not immediately returned.

Jeff Aston, whose son Daniel Ashton He was shot dead in the attack, the trial was heard from a distance.

This was a disgusting, senseless, heinous and cowardly act,” Aston said, adding that he wants to see Aldrich suffer the same consequences as the victims and their family members.

After the shooting, Daniel Aston’s parents said they found Club Q to be a safe place to be a trans man and drag queen.

Michael Anderson, who was bartending at Club Q at the time of the shooting, said the federal charges “will serve as a deterrent by sending a message to people who want to commit violent acts against this community, and let them know that this is something It’s not like that.” Swept away or ignored.”

“No amount of justice is served at the statewide or federal level, it cannot make up for the bullets fired,” he said.

At Aldrich’s sentencing in state court, Colorado Springs area District Attorney Michael Allen said that the prospect of receiving the death penalty in the federal system was “a large part of what motivates the defendant to plead guilty to state charges.” ” Was.

Aldrich declined to speak at the sentencing hearing in state court, and did not explain why he walked into the club, then went out and returned wearing body armor. As soon as he returned, Aldrich began firing with an AR-15-style rifle.

Prosecutors say Aldrich had been to the club at least six times before that night and that Aldrich’s mother had forced them to go.

In a series of telephone calls from prison, Aldrich told The Associated Press that he was taking “a large amount of drugs” and steroids at the time of the attack. Asked whether the attack was motivated by hatred, Aldrich said it was “completely baseless”.

The district attorney called those statements self-serving and called the claims hollow. Aldrich’s claim of being non-binary is part of an effort to avoid hate crime charges, he said, adding that there was no evidence of Aldrich identifying as non-binary before the shooting.

During a hearing in the state case in February, prosecutors said Aldrich operated a website that posted “neo-Nazi white supremacist” shooting training videos. A police detective also testified that online gaming friends said Aldrich expressed hatred toward police, LBGTQ+ people, and minorities, and used racist and homophobic slurs. One said Aldrich had sent an online message with a photo of a rifle trained on a gay pride parade.

This attack destroyed the sense of security at Club Q served as a refuge For the city’s LGBTQ+ community. Authorities said the shooting was stopped by a Navy officer, who grabbed the barrel of the suspect’s rifle, burning his hand, and an Army veteran who helped subdue and beat Aldrich until police arrived.

The 2022 attack comes more than a year after Aldrich was arrested for threatening his grandparents Vowing to be “the next mass murderer” ″When collecting weapons, body armor and bomb making materials.

They The charges were ultimately dismissed After Aldrich’s mother and grandparents refused to cooperate With the prosecutors.

Aldrich was moved to Wyoming State Penitentiary last year due to security concerns about the high-profile case, according to Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Alondra Gonzalez. ,

Associated Press writers Jesse Bedayan contributed from Denver and Matthew Brown contributed from Billings, Montana.


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