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Colorado gay nightclub killer pleads guilty in federal court and receives life sentence

By Keith Coffman and Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) – The convicted gunman who killed five people in a 2022 attack on a gay club in Colorado is expected to plead guilty to federal hate crimes and weapons offenses at a court hearing on Tuesday and face a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

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

According to court records, Aldrich later pleaded guilty to 74 counts of planning and carrying out the attack on the club after entering armed with a semi-automatic rifle during a drag show on November 19, 2022. Five people were killed and more than a dozen others injured before two patrons of the club managed to wrest the weapon from Aldrich.

After his plea, Aldrich will be sentenced by Judge Charlotte Sweeney at the same hearing in U.S. District Court in Denver.

Aldrich's lawyers and prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver agreed that federal sentencing guidelines call for multiple concurrent life sentences without the possibility of parole, followed by a term of 190 years in prison.

The most serious crimes Aldrich must plead guilty to are charges of intentionally killing a person because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver and Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Donna Bryson and Rosalba O'Brien)