Dec. 8-A 2021 bomb threat case against mass shooting suspect Anderson Aldrich, where Aldrich claimed they wanted to be "the next mass shooter," was dismissed by an El Paso County court because prosecutors were unable to serve subpoenas to family members who were the alleged victims in the case.
Without the testimony of the grandparents who accused Aldrich, 22, of threatening them, the judge in the case dismissed charges against Aldrich and the case was sealed on Aug. 11, 2022.
That case was unsealed Thursday after petitions by Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen as well as numerous media outlets, including The Gazette in Colorado Springs.
During a news conference on Thursday afternoon, Allen spoke at length about the 2021 case against Aldrich, claiming his office tried its best to prosecute Aldrich, but a lack of cooperation from the family left the District Attorney's Office unable to do so.
"Those statements, everyone would agree, are concerning statements," Allen said of the claims that Aldrich told their grandparents they wanted to be the next mass shooter at the time of the 2021 bomb threat. "To get those statements into a courtroom, in front of a jury, to convict somebody, Pamela Pullen would have to appear in court and take the witness stand and testify against her grandson."
Because the District Attorney's Office was unable to subpoena either of Aldrich's grandparents or their mother, Laura Voepel, Allen said the District Attorney's Office was unable to take the case to a jury trial. Aldrich identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns.
In court documents obtained by The Gazette, Pamela Pullen on June 30, 2022, even sent a motion to quash the subpoena to court.
Allen said the prosecution requested a continuance on the case prior to the jury trial, but because Aldrich's speedy trial date was approaching, the case was instead dismissed.
Kristy Boots, an independent expert not employed by the Fourth Judicial District, said during the news conference that in her experience family often refuse to testify against loved ones, and that it's a fairly common reason for cases to be dismissed.
Colorado law gives anyone accused of a crime the right to have their jury trial held within six months of entering a plea. Allen claimed that Aldrich's speedy trial deadline was just three weeks away when the prosecution requested a continuance of the jury trial on July 5, 2022. It was also the second time the prosecution requested a continuance of Aldrich's jury trial due to being unable to subpoena Aldrich's family.
Allen claimed that the case against Aldrich lasted for 383 days before being dismissed by the judge, and that his office attempted as much as it possibly could have to take Aldrich's case to trial.
The charges filed against Aldrich were three counts of kidnapping and two counts of felony menacing. Allen said a conviction on these charges would not have been possible without cooperation from Aldrich's family.
If Aldrich had been convicted in that case, they likely would have been in prison at the time they are suspected of killing five people in Club Q in Colorado Springs.
The 2021 case was dismissed, and later sealed on Aug. 11, 2022.
Additionally, Allen revealed during the news conference that two guns were recovered and seized by the El Paso County Sherriff's Office at the scene of the incident on June 18, 2021.
The two guns recovered by law enforcement, Allen said, were a handgun described as a ghost gun and a MM-15 5.56 mm rifle. Allen said both weapons were taken by the El Paso County Sherriff's Office and never returned to Aldrich.
A news release from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office claimed that on Aug. 12, the day after Aldrich's case was sealed by the court, that they attempted to get their guns pack, but that the request was denied.
Allen was asked by a reporter if there was any evidence that Aldrich had purchased the guns used during the Club Q shooting while the 2021 case was active, but Allen declined to comment.
During the news conference Allen also criticized the media and politicians who made statements on the shooting.
"Some members of the media and certain politicians hoping to capitalize on the Club Q tragedy came to conclusions that were wholly unsupported," Allen said. "Those people should be ashamed of themselves."
When asked to clarify what conclusions were incorrect, Allen pointed to some stating that the District Attorney's Office didn't do enough to keep Aldrich off the streets, something Allen stated several times was entirely untrue.