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Colorado gay nightclub killer pleads guilty to federal hate crimes

THE convicted shooter who killed five people in a 2022 attack at a gay nightclub in Colorado pleaded guilty to federal hate crime and gun charges at a court hearing and was due later on Tuesday to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 24, has already been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to state murder charges in a separate prosecution last year for the attack on Club Q in Colorado Springs.

Earlier this year, Aldrich agreed to also enter a guilty plea to all 74 federal charges and face additional life-imprisonment sentences for planning and carrying out the attack at the club after entering armed with a semiautomatic rifle on November 19, 2022, during a drag show. Five people were killed and more than a dozen others injured before two patrons at the club managed to wrest Aldrich’s gun away.

Aldrich, who is jailed at a Wyoming state penitentiary, entered the guilty plea before Judge Charlotte Sweeney at the U.S. District Court in Denver.

Aldrich’s attorneys and prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office in Denver agreed that federal sentencing guidelines require multiple concurrent sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole and a consecutive sentence of 190 years in prison.

The most serious crimes to which Aldrich pleaded guilty were charges of wilfully killing someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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By KEITH COFFMAN and JONATHAN ALLEN

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