Psychologist: Loughner Now Accepts Giffords Is Alive

Jared Lee Loughner makes first court appearance since May
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2011 6:41 PM CDT
In this courtroom sketch, Jared Lee Loughner appears in federal court for a mental competency hearing Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011 in Tucson, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Bill Robles)

(Newser) – There were no outbursts in Jared Lee Loughner's first court appearance since May, but there were plenty of revelations. In a hearing centered on whether Loughner can be made competent enough to stand trial, prison psychologist Christina Pietz explained that Loughner does know he killed people in Tucson in January, and feels remorse. He also finally acknowledges that Gabrielle Giffords is alive, a fact he previously contested, reports the Wall Street Journal. "He is less obsessed with that," Pietz testified. "He understands that he has murdered people. He talks about it. He talks about how remorseful he is."

Prosecutors today requested that the court extend Loughner's stay in a Missouri federal medical prison for eight months; Pietz says that would give him enough time to become mentally fit for trial. "He has already made improvements, and he has only been on medication for 60 days," she said, noting that he now has no auditory hallucinations and can have limited conversations. "Given the progress he has made today, I have no reason to think he wouldn't continue to make progress." The Journal notes that Loughner wore a white, long-sleeved shirt to court and looked straight ahead; his "familiar grin" was absent.

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