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
Giffords Backs Shooter's 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.   (AP Photo Manuel Balce Ceneta)

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. (More Gabrielle Giffords shooting stories.)

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