Tuesday 27 June 2023

Accused Shooter Pleads Guilty To Killing 5 In Colorado Springs Gay Nightclub

 The suspect in last year’s gay nightclub shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that killed five people is set to spend life in prison as part of a plea deal.

The 23-year-old, whom The Daily Wire is not naming in keeping with a policy of depriving mass shooters of undeserved notoriety, pleaded guilty in court on Monday to 55 charges seven months after the November 19 attack at Club Q.

Five of the charges are counts of murder in the first degree and the 46 others are counts of attempted murder in the first degree. The defendant also pleaded no contest to a pair of bias-motivated crimes.

As read by Judge Michael McHenry, the plea deal calls for five consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole for the five murder charges and 46 consecutive 48-year sentences followed by mandatory parole for the attempted murder counts.

The defendant, who during court proceedings has identified as “non-binary” and used the pronouns “they/them,” agreed to the terms as the judge outlined the plea deal in court.

“I intentionally and after deliberation caused the death of each [of the] victims listed in those counts,” the defendant said. “With the attempted first degree murder counts, with intent to commit murder in the first degree took a substantial step toward committing murder in the first degree of each of those victims.”

When asked about the bias-motivated crimes, the defendant said, “Because of the evidence presented, I believe that there is a high probability of being convicted at trial to those counts and so I’m pleading no contest.”

After going through the plea agreement, the judge said he was moving to sentencing and instructed the media to stop recording or live-streaming. Reporters said the reading of impact statements for the victims and survivors began shortly thereafter.

The defendant is accused of killing five people at Club Q last November while armed with an AR-style rifle and a handgun and wearing a ballistic vest. The attack also resulted in more than a dozen others being injured. Patrons managed to subdue the suspect until police arrived, according to accounts from witnesses and officials.

The five victims who were killed have been identified as Daniel Davis Aston, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, Derrick Rump, and Raymond Green Vance.

Prosecutors, who initially lodged more than 300 charges, argued their evidence showed the defendant had an “aversion to the LGBTQ community” and was inspired by what Detective Rebecca Joines described as a “neo-Nazi white supremacist” shooting training video. They could not seek the death penalty because the state abolished the practice in 2020.

Leading up to the plea deal, defense attorneys argued their client was not anti-LGBTQ and said the defendant was taking a variety of mental health medications, suffered from sleep deprivation, and was abused at home.

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