Update (4:09 p.m. EDT): Loughner pleaded guilty to each count individually, as the judge read them out, the Republic's Michelle Lee tweets. The judge accepted Loughner's pleas and found him guilty. Loughner's agreement stipulates that on top of his multiple life sentences, he's to pay $19 million in restitution, should he ever make any money. The hearing has been dismissed.
Update (3:50 p.m. EDT): Loughner's plea deal includes multiple life sentences, and he waives the right to appeal his conviction, the Republic's live feed says.
Update (3:42 p.m. EDT): Loughner has pleaded guilty to counts of murder of federal employees, for the deaths of Judge John Roll, and Giffords communication outreach director Gabe Zimmerman. He pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Giffords staffers Ron Barber and Sam Simon, as well as counts of killing and attempting to kill participants in a "federally protected activity," Santos tweets. Thirty more counts against Loughner were dismissed, according to the Republic.
Update (3:25 p.m. EDT): It's official: Loughner's been found competent to stand trial, according to the Republic's live coverage from inside the courtroom.
Original: Jared Loughner, the man accused of shooting former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others, killing six in Tucson in January 2011, is competent and feels bad about what he did, his forensic psychologist said, meaning he'll likely be cleared to plead guilty. Forensic psychologist Dr. Christina Pietz, who diagnosed Loughner with schizophrenia, "said she believed medication had subsequently helped Loughner because he began making comments about feeling badly about what he had done," The Arizona Republic's Michael Kiefer, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, and Joe Dana report. Loughner must be found competent to stand trial before he can enter a guilty plea, as he's been expected to do.
The guilty plea means Jared Loughner will spend the rest of his life in prison, but per an agreement his lawyers made with prosecutors he won't face the death penalty, as he would have if he'd gone to trial. Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, said on Tuesday that he and Giffords supported the deal. "The pain and loss caused by the events of January 8, 2011 are incalculable. 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," he said in an email statement quoted by The Wall Street Journal's Tamara Audi.
As The New York Times' Fernanda Santos points out, a trial would have not only exposed Loughner to a possible death sentence, it would also have opened the possibility of his being found not guilty for reasons of insanity. After an outburst in court last May, Loughner was ruled mentally unfit to stand trial, but then in September a judge ruled he could face trial after he underwent medication. Still, Loughner's grasp on reality has been an issue throughout the proceedings.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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