The shooter who killed five people and endangered the lives of more than 40 others at the LGBTQ+ nightclub Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 2022 intends to plead guilty to federal counts for hate crimes and firearm violations under an agreement that would allow them to avoid the death penalty, according to court documents.
Anderson Aldrich, 23, made a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to 50 hate crime counts and 24 firearm violations, according to court documents released Tuesday in Denver. Aldrich would get multiple life sentences in addition to a 190-year sentence under the proposed agreement, which needs a judge’s approval, the Associated Press reported.
The Jan. 9 plea agreement was unsealed by the federal court after Aldrich had pleaded not guilty in court during an initial appearance on Tuesday afternoon. The gun counts, Aldrich used a semiautomatic rifle in the attack, carry a maximum penalty of death, according to the agreement.
The federal counts were announced in Denver by Assistant United States Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Aldrich was sentenced to life in prison in June after pleading guilty to state counts of murder and 46 counts of attempted murder — one for each person at Club Q during the attack on Nov. 19, 2022.
The victims killed in the Club Q attack were Raymond Green Vance, 22, Daniel Aston, 28, Ashley Paugh, 35, Derrick Rump, 38, and Kelly Loving, 40.
Aldrich was moved to the Wyoming State Penitentiary last year due to concerns about their safety in Colorado’s prison system.
Aldrich identifies as nonbinary, but prosecutors have expressed skepticism about that. El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen District Attorney said he believed Aldrich claimed the identity to avoid being charged with hate crimes under Colorado law.
Aldrich didn’t identify as nonbinary before the shooting at Club Q, Allen said.