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Court Files Show Missteps In Earlier Case Against CO Nightclub Shooter

The prosecution of the Colorado gay nightclub shooter for allegedly kidnapping and threatening to kill their grandparents in 2021 was moving toward a plea deal as defense attorneys reported “great progress” in Anderson Aldrich’s therapy for PTSD. The case quickly collapsed and was dismissed months later, say documents obtained by The Associated Press. Charges against Aldrich — who had stockpiled explosives and allegedly spoke of plans to become the “next mass killer ” before engaging in an armed standoff with SWAT teams — were thrown out during a four-minute hearing in July in which the prosecution didn’t argue to keep the case alive. Judge Robin Chittum, who was told by relatives that Aldrich was “certain” to commit murder if freed, granted defense attorneys’ motion to dismiss the case because a deadline was looming to bring it to trial. There was no discussion about Aldrich’s mental health treatment, violent past or exploring options to compel Aldrich’s grandparents and mother to testify.

It is unknown what happened with Aldrich’s therapy. The last mention in court hearings was in January.

On Nov. 19, police say Aldrich, 22, attacked Club Q in Colorado Springs, killing five people and wounding 17 with an AR-15-style rifle before being disarmed and subdued by patrons. Details of the 2021 failed prosecution —- laid out in 12 court hearing transcripts— paint a picture of potential missteps in the case against Aldrich and raise more questions about whether enough was done to stop the mass shooting. Talk of a plea agreement evaporated by this summer as defense attorneys continually reminded the judge that a trial deadline approached. Prosecutors failed to successfully serve a subpoena to testify on Aldrich’s 69-year-old grandmother, who was bedridden in Florida. Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, said it’s extremely hard to predict violent crimes in the future, but Aldrich’s case is a rare example of when the evidence was so overwhelming for past and potential future crimes that the suspect “clearly should have been confined.”


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