Loughner Pleads Guilty, Is Deemed Competent

Gabrielle Giffords supports plea that spares him the death penalty

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 7, 2012 1:19 PM CDT | Updated Aug 7, 2012 2:59 PM CDT

(Newser) – Jared Lee Loughner won't face the death penalty for his shooting spree against Gabrielle Giffords that killed six. The 23-year-old pleaded guilty today and will likely get a life sentence instead, reports AP. Before the plea, the judge declared Loughner competent to stand trial should he go that route, citing his prison treatment for schizophrenia. Loughner's behavior in court left "no question that he understands what's happening today," said Judge Larry A. Burns. When he asked Loughner whether he understood the proceedings, he answered, "Yes, I understand."

Earlier, Giffords and husband Mark Kelly said they were "satisfied" with the deal, Kelly told the Wall Street Journal. "Avoiding a trial will allow us—and we hope the whole Southern Arizona community—to continue with our recovery and move forward with our lives." Other shooting victims have also expressed support for the plea bargain.

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords attends a ceremony at the Pentagon, Friday, Feb. 10, 2012, for the unveiling of the USS Gabrielle Giffords.
Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords attends a ceremony at the Pentagon, Friday, Feb. 10, 2012, for the unveiling of the USS Gabrielle Giffords.   (AP Photo Manuel Balce Ceneta)
This U.S. Marshal's Service photo shows Jared Lee Loughner.
This U.S. Marshal's Service photo shows Jared Lee Loughner.   (AP Photo/U.S. Marshal's Office, File)
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