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The shooter who killed 5 at a Colorado ***+ club pleads guilty to 50 federal hate crimes

Wednesday, 19 June, 2024, 22:30
The shooter who killed 5 at a Colorado ***+ club pleads guilty to 50 federal hate crimes

The shooter who killed five people and injured 19 others at an L*G*BTQ+ club that was a refuge in the conservative city of Colorado Springs pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes and was sentenced to 55 life terms in prison on Tuesday, but once again declined to apologize or say anything to the victims’ families.

Prosecutors nevertheless highlighted the importance of Anderson Lee Aldrich being forced to take responsibility for the hatred toward LGBTQ+ people that they say motivated the mass shooting. As part of a plea agreement, Aldrich repeatedly admitted on Tuesday to evidence of hate.

“The admission that these were hate crimes is important to the government, and it’s important to the community of Club Q,” said prosecutor Alison Connaughty.

Aldrich attacked a place that was much more than a bar, according to Connaughty, who described Club Q as a safe space for people in the LGBTQ+ community.

“We met people who said ‘this venue saved my life and I was able to feel normal again,’” she said. The sentence against Aldrich “sends a message that acts of hate will be met with severe consequences.”

Aldrich, 24, is already serving life in prison after pleading guilty to state charges last year. Federal prosecutors focused on proving that the Nov. 19, 2022, attack at the haven for LGBTQ+ people was premeditated and fueled by bias.

U.S. District Judge Charlotte Sweeney, the first openly gay federal judge in Colorado, heard heart-wrenching testimony from victims before accepting the agreement, which also includes a total of 190 years on gun-related charges.
Several of the survivors said they wanted the death penalty. However, Sweeney, explained that capital punishment had not been sought by prosecutors and would need to have been imposed by a jury. Instead, Sweeney said the life sentences will mean no drawn-out appeals and no more hearings where a hate crime defendant might become a symbol. Recalling the perspective of the father of Matthew Shepard, the gay college student killed in Wyoming in 1998 for whom the federal hate crime law is partly named, she said Aldrich will never get out of prison and will face “a miserable future, with a miserable end.”