Defense: Suspect shooting at Club Q, visited before the bloodbath
DENVER (AP) — The person accused of fatally shooting five people and injuring 17 others at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs last year was at the venue more than an hour earlier that night before returning, according to information, to carry out the mass shooting announced Friday during a preliminary hearing.
Authorities have previously said only that Anderson Lee Aldrich was seen pulling into a parking lot at Club Q just before midnight on November 19, 2022, where they entered and immediately opened fire.
The new schedule was announced in passing during the hearing by a defense attorney who was hoping to reschedule an evidence hearing scheduled for later this month, but he didn’t elaborate.
Defense attorney Joseph Archambault argued that the hearing should be postponed until they can view all security footage from inside the club that night to determine, for example, whether Aldrich had been involved in arguments or conversations with others or had been drinking. This information, he claimed, could provide important evidence as to whether the crime was intentional or motivated by bias.
Aldrich, who is non-binary and uses she/them pronouns, faces hate crime charges as well as murder and attempted murder. Someone who is not binary can be charged with hate crimes for targeting their peers because hate crime laws focus on the victim, not the offender. However, prosecutors must demonstrate what motivated a defendant to a higher standard than what is normally required in court.
Prosecutors and judges did not dispute the schedule, but what happened during that time earlier that night was not discussed directly, including what time Aldrich was there. There was also an indication that Aldrich was at the club on other occasions in 2021 and 2022, but those visits were not discussed.
Archambault wanted to postpone a three-day hearing starting February 22 to determine whether Aldrich will stand trial in the case, in part because audio is not yet available for surveillance footage they were showing earlier at the club, which may have captured statements from them or others .
Archambault did not answer a call for more details. His office has a policy of not speaking to reporters.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Reginald Short stated that technical issues caused a delay in the audio and video reconciliation by video forensic experts. He said he didn’t think audio associated with the relevant portions of the video would likely do much to shed light on Aldrich’s state of mind because it would be difficult to hear people talking. The surveillance video, which has audio, has a lot of disco music and other loud background noise, with people shouting over the noise to order drinks at the bar, he said.
Short also argued that the upcoming preliminary hearing, to determine whether there is enough evidence for Aldrich to stand trial, requires only that prosecutors establish a probable cause that Aldrich committed the crimes, with the evidence in at this stage of the proceedings in favor of the public prosecutor.
“It’s not a thriller,” he said.
Club Q co-owner Matthew Haynes declined to comment on the disclosure, saying he wanted to remain focused on rebuilding the venue.
Judge Michael McHenry denied the defense’s motion to postpone the hearing, noting that not all evidence needed to be presented because the preliminary hearing was not a “mini-trial.” However, he said if new information came to light after the hearing, he would be willing to consider whether that would be sufficient to consider releasing Aldrich at the trial.
https://www.wane.com/news/national-world/defense-club-q-shooting-suspect-visited-before-bloodbath/ Defense: Suspect shooting at Club Q, visited before the bloodbath