Anderson Lee Aldrich sentenced to five life sentences and more than 2,000 extra years for Club Q shooting

Club Q shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich has been sentenced to five life sentences and an additional 2,208 years after pleading guilty to 53 crimes.

On Monday (26 June), Aldrich pleaded guilty to five first-degree murder charges, 46 charges of attempted first-degree murder – one for each person in the club during the massacre – and two bias-motivated hate crimes. 

Aldrich originally faced 305 criminal counts for the 19 November 2022 attack which left five dead and dozens injured. 

The 23-year-old, 22 at the time of the incident, opened fire in the Colorado Springs gay nightclub with the initial intention to livestream the bloodshed. 

Using an AR-style rifle, Aldrich gunned down Daniel Aston, 28; Kelly Loving, 40; Ashley Paugh, 35; Derrick Rump, 38; and Raymond Green Vance, 22, during the incident. 

Handing down the sentence on Monday, judge Michael McHenry sentenced the defendant to 5 life sentences without the possibility of parole for murder, and an additional 2,208 years for attempted murder to run consecutively. 

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In a statement after the court hearing, McHenry told journalists Aldrich’s sentence was the longest given out in the Fourth Judicial District and the second longest “ever achieved in the state of Colorado”, to the knowledge of Fourth Judicial district attorney Michael Allen. 

Flowers left outside Club Q in the wake of the shooting (Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

During the case, victims and family members of those killed read out victim impact statements. 

The statements urged the judge to lock Aldrich away for the longest period of time. 

“Please your honour, I’m pleading with you: Lock this animal away to the depths of hell,” said Cheryl Norton, a mother whose daughter – Ashtin Gamblin – was shot nine times but lived.

Jessica Fierro, whose daughter’s boyfriend was killed, described Aldrich as a “monster”, stating: “The devil awaits with open arms.”

Jeff Aston, the father of killed Club Q bartender Daniel Aston, hoped for the death penalty, saying Monday’s sentence still does not offer “enough closure”. 

The death penalty was outlawed in Colorado in 2020. However, a federal investigation has been opened into the attack – for which capital punishment can be attached – possibly a motivator for Aldrich to plead guilty in the state’s case. 

Allen said, as quoted by CNN: “The death penalty still matters even if it’s not law in the state of Colorado. 

“The threat of the death penalty in the federal system (was) a big part of what motivated this defendant to take this plea in our case.”

Adding: “Cases like this are why the death penalty should exist in the state of Colorado, the victims in this case deserve the ultimate punishment that the law can provide.”