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Club Q mass shooter sentenced to life in prison plus 190 years on federal hate crime charges

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The gunman who opened fire in an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing five and injuring over a dozen more in 2022, was sentenced on federal charges on Tuesday. Daniel Davis Aston, Kelly Loving, Derrick Rump, Ashley Paugh and Raymond Green Vance were the victims killed in the attack.

After originally pleading not guilty, the shooter, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 24, accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to each of the 74 charges of violating provisions of the Matthew Shepard And James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 as well as gun crimes in the Club Q shooting. Aldrich was given 55 concurrent life sentences without the possibility of parole, to be followed by a 190-year sentence of imprisonment. Aldrich is already serving five consecutive life terms and an additional 2,212 years without the possibility of parole at the Wyoming State Penitentiary after pleading guilty in 2023 to state charges for the attack.

Earlier this year, prosecutors said earlier this year they would not seek the death penalty. United States District Judge Charlotte N. Sweeney, the first LGBTQ+ federal judge to serve in Colorado, handed down the sentence after hearing from the victims’ families and survivors of the shooting, many of whom were disappointed Aldrich would not face a capital sentence. Sweeney said they not have the discretion to impose a different sentence, citing the plea agreement, but emphasized the importance of Aldrich’s decision to plead guilty, saying that Aldrich admitted to carrying out the attack because of the victims’ “actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation.” Sweeney said during sentencing: “you [Aldrich] went to this community’s safe space and mass murdered people .. This community is much stronger than you, stronger than your armor and stronger than your weapons and sure as hell stronger than your hatred.”

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