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Colorado Springs non-binary shooter claim won’t stop hate crime allegations, legal experts say

The gender identity of a suspect in the Colorado Springs shooting will not stop authorities from filing hate crime charges against them, legal experts say.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, who identifies as non-binary, faces preliminary charges, including five counts of murder and five counts of a bias crime of bodily harm.

The 22-year-old is charged with killing five people while at least 18 others were injured after they stormed into Club Q just before midnight on Saturday and were the first to open an AR 15 rifle.

Shot to death by army veteran Richard Fierro, the shooting suspect also survived extensive wounds around his head and neck, police photos have revealed.

While the motive for the shooting at an LGBT+ club in Colorado is still being investigated, authorities said Mr. Aldrich is facing possible murder and hate crime charges.

While the defense categorically said nothing about the suspect’s use of the suspect’s gender identity during the trial, legal experts said the inclusion of the pronouns in Tuesday’s court records was “a very strategic sympathy-building move to avoid any chance of additional charges being brought.”

“They use/their pronouns and for all formal filing purposes will be addressed as Mx. Aldrich,” Mr Aldrich’s attorneys wrote.

The suspect’s gender identity “doesn’t matter,” Neama Rahmani, president of the West Coast Trial Lawyers and former federal prosecutor, told Insider. “Of course the defense will want to let it in, but it’s not a defense.”

“It’s certainly something the defense would try to exploit, but it doesn’t by itself rule out a hate crime charge depending on other evidence,” said Brian Levin, a professor of criminal justice at California State University, San Bernardino. quoted by Insider.

“The notion that someone might belong to a group does not mean that some sort of … disagreement over that group membership or that issue would negate hate crime accusations,” he added.

Meanwhile, the court ordered the suspect’s pre-trial detention without bail.

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