The suspect accused of entering a Colorado gay nightclub wearing a bulletproof vest andwith an AR-15 style rifle, killing and injuring 17 others, was charged by prosecutors on Tuesday with 305 counts, including hate crimes and murder. 22, sat up straight in a chair during the hearing and seemed alert.
In a previous court appearance just days after the shooting, the defendant’s head and face were covered in bruises and the defendant, who according to court documents filed by his attorney, isand uses the pronouns they/they, had to be prompted by lawyers to answer a judge’s questions.
Investigators said the accused entered Club Q, a sanctuary for the LGBTQ community in the predominantly conservative city of Colorado Springs, just before midnight on Nov. 19 and began shooting during the birthday celebration. a drag queen. The killing stopped afterthrew the suspect to the ground, beating the accused into submission, they said.
The defendant had been held on a hate crime charge, but prosecutors had previously said they were unsure whether those charges would stand, as they had to assess whether there was sufficient evidence to show he it was a bias-motivated crime.
District Attorney Michael Allen had noted that the murder charges would carry the harshest sentence — likely life in prison — but also said it was important to show the community that bias-motivated crimes are not tolerated if there is evidence to support the charge.
Allen did not detail the charges during Tuesday’s hearing, but said they included “numerous bias-motivated counts of crimes.”
Judge Michael McHenry on Wednesday ordered that the arrest warrant affidavit in the case be unsealed, despite objections from the defendant’s attorney who expressed concern about the defendant’s right to a trial fair because of the publicity surrounding the case.
The accused was arrested at the club by the police. They did not enter a plea or speak about the events.
Witnesses say the accused first fired at people gathered at the club’s bar before spraying bullets on the dance floor in the attack, which took place on the eve of an annual commemoration day for transgender people lost to violence.
More than a year before the shooting, the accused was arrested on allegations of having made a bomb threat which led to the evacuation of about ten houses. The accused threatened to harm his own family with a pipe bomb, ammunition and several weapons, authorities said at the time.
The accused was jailed on suspicion of felony threatening and kidnapping, but the case was apparently sealed afterwards and it is unclear what happened to the charges. There is no public indication that the case resulted in a conviction.
Doorbell video obtained by the AP shows the defendant arriving at his mother’s front door with a large black bag, telling her that the police were nearby and adding, “That’s where I’m standing. . Today I die.”