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Rev. Paula Stecker of the Christ the King Lutheran Church stands in front of a memorial set up outside Club Q following last week's mass shooting at the gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)

A judge refused Friday to postpone a preliminary hearing for the 22-year-old suspect accused of killing five people and wounding at least 17 others inside an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, despite requests by the defense for additional time to review thousands of pages of evidence. 

More than 5,000 pages of evidence has been collected as part of prosecutors’ case against Anderson Lee Aldrich, who sat between two attorneys at El Paso County District Court on Friday afternoon in an orange jail shirt and pants and a black face mask. 

Judge Michael McHenry denied the defense’s request to postpone the Feb. 22 preliminary hearing after claims from public defender Joseph Archambault that he would not be ready to defend Aldrich and needed more time to review the terabyte of discovery, including surveillance footage from inside and outside Club Q the night of the Nov. 19 deadly attack, 911 audio, photographs and body-worn camera footage from the first officer to arrive at the club.

McHenry also accepted the prosecution’s request to file a dozen additional charges, which include attempted first-degree murder, attempted assault and bias-motivated crimes. 

Several victims and their family members attended the hearing, inside the courtroom and watching online. Club Q co-owner Matthew Haynes was also in the courtroom. 

Surveillance footage, showing Aldrich pulling up to Club Q in an SUV and opening fire inside the club, will be presented at the preliminary hearing, 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said.

Last month, Aldrich was charged with 305 counts including 10 counts of first-degree murder, five of which are accusations of first-degree murder after deliberation and five of which are accusations of first-degree murder with extreme indifference. He also faces more than 70 counts of attempted first-degree murder, 48 counts of bias-motivated crimes and dozens of counts of first-degree assault. 

The additional counts bring the total up to 317 and include two additional victims. Allen said charges could continue to be added as the investigation into the deadly attack continues.

Olivia Prentzel

Olivia Prentzel is a general assignment writer for The Colorado Sun. Email: oliviaprentzel@coloradosun.com