Arizona Shooter Sentenced to Life Imprisonment

24-year-old Jared Lee Loughner will spend life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Arizona shooting that left six dead and many wounded, including then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Loughner was sentenced under a plea agreement supported by victims, including Giffords.

The hearing marked the first time victims – including Giffords – could confront Loughner in court.

Her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, did all the talking for her, as the couple looked at Loughner and told him how his deadly rampage at the former congresswoman’s political meeting had upended her life.

“Her life has been forever changed. Plans she had for our family and her career have been immeasurably altered,” Kelly said. “Every day is a continuous struggle to do those things she once was so good at.”

Loughner showed no emotion, and looked at the other victims. His mother sobbed nearby.

“Mr. Loughner, you may have put a bullet through her head but you haven’t put a dent in her spirit and her commitment to make the world a better place,” Kelly said.

Loughner, who is mentally ill, apparently did not believe Giffords was alive until he was forcibly medicated in a Missouri prison facility. After treatment, he was deemed competent to stand trial. However, his condition might not have withstood the lengthy trial necessary for prosecutors to seek the death penalty:

Christina Pietz, the court-appointed psychologist who treated Loughner, had warned that although Loughner was competent to plead guilty, he remained severely mentally ill and his condition could deteriorate under the stress of a trial.

Loughner’s plea bargain only covers the federal charges filed in the case. The state has not yet charged Loughner. If Pima County prosecutors choose to file state charges, the death penalty again becomes a possibility for the apparently remorseless shooter, who showed no emotion when confronted by his victims.

About ProgressiveCowgirl

Colorado native, young professional, progressive cowgirl. 4-term FPE (aka masochist).

5 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. rocco says:

    Palin, Beck, Bachman, O’reilly Coulter, Ingraham, and Boortz are guilty of the kind of incitement that created the atmosphere and coercion Loughner operated in and under.

    “Armed and dangerous”, crosshairs on the map of Gabby’s district, on and on.

    If there were any justice, these cowards would be answering for this.

    • DaftPunk says:

      Paranoid schizophrenia is, and it is no more the fault of the teabaggers than it is Loughner’s parents.  

      Was Jodie Foster responsible for John Hinckley?

      • Gray in Mountains says:

        At the time of the Reagan shooting we learned that his parents, from Evergreen at the time, had spent $100K+ in their own money after all benefits had expired. They had done everything possible. How much is $100K in todays dollars? They feared he was at least dangerous to himself but not enough to meet that “imminent” hurdle which might have gotten him hostpitalized for a week if his 96 hours fell around a holiday and weekend. That “imminent” hurdle can be difficult to clear given the judge. I was working in mental health at the time and had been for more than 15 years. I remember thinking and declaring to co-workers that “This will change things.” Of course it did not. There was barely a peep about the need for stronger committment laws because most people don’t think it touches them. Most people are happy if their insurance covers a few outpatient visits because for most people that is the most important. Most people want their insurance costs lowered even at the cost of having their President almost killed. Most people believe the “bootstraps” stuff, that if a person only tried harder and did not “feel sorry for themselves” they’d get better.

        Mental illness is never a choice.

  2. Gray in Mountains says:

    is that the mental health system has been dismantled. As a civilization we have allowed that to happen because insurance companies did not want to pay for it. Additionally we allowed committment laws to be almost completely destroyed from an admirable devotion to civil liberties coupled with a less admirable complete lack of understanding of mental illness. So, Lennon, Giffords and countless others have died needlessly. This kind of episode will continue to happen and we’ll read about a nanny that stabs 2 children to death and another man who burns an elderly woman to death in an elevator

    • rocco says:

      If you want services, you have to pay for them, and the tea brain isn’t equipped to comprehend the cause and effect dynamic.

      The very atmosphere that elected 44 to a second term is what we need now to start re-educating people as to how we rise and fall as one nation.

      The proof we’re moving toward sanity is that Romney could not get within 2 million votes of what Palin, of all people, received in ’08.

      Think about that. More people voted for the mean spirited, gaffing machine Sarah Palin than this republican ticket.

      Nationwide, the republicans supressed 9 million Democratic votes either through registration gimmics or polling place displacement, false information, intimidation and purging, and still lost by over 2 million votes.

      We are moving to a point where we as a people are discarding the reaganesque “I got mine, you go to hell” mindset that the conservatives sold for 30 years and realizing we’re in this together.

      Mental health will get center stage this term.

      Thank God.  

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