Judge: Loughner not competent to stand trial in Arizona shootings
No longer bald and clean-shaven as he was shortly after his January arrest, Loughner on Wednesday had a full head of hair, along with facial hair.
May 25th, 2011
03:18 PM ET

Judge: Loughner not competent to stand trial in Arizona shootings

Jared Lee Loughner is not competent to stand trial on charges of trying to assassinate U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.

The judge said his ruling is based on the results of court-ordered medical evaluations of Loughner at a federal hospital in Springfield, Missouri. Two medical professionals did separate evaluations of Loughner.

The U.S. attorney general will take custody of Loughner for a period not to exceed four months, during which he will be taken to a hospital for further evaluation to determine if he will become competent to stand trial.

Loughner, 22, of Tucson, Arizona, is charged with killing six people and wounding 13 more, including Giffords, D-Arizona, who was holding a meet-and-greet with constituents in Tucson at the time of the January 8 shooting.

During Wednesday's hearing in Tucson to determine Loughner's competency, marshals removed Loughner from the courtroom after an outburst in which one reporter heard him say, "Thank you for the freak show. She died right in front of me," and "You're changing ..."

After the recess, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns asked Loughner if he wanted to watch the remainder of the proceedings on a television monitor, Loughner said yes, and he was removed from courtroom.

Those killed in January's shooting were a 9-year-old girl, Christina Taylor Green; John Roll, a 63-year-old U.S. District Court judge in Arizona; Gabriel "Gabe" Zimmerman, 30, Giffords' director of community outreach; retired librarian Phyllis Scheck, 79; retired construction worker Dorwin Stoddard, 76; and retiree Dorothy "Dot" Morris, 76.

Loughner has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Giffords, who was shot through the head and brain, is recovering from surgery that implanted a synthetic bone and a shunt in her skull, her doctors said last week. She was in attendance last week when the Space Shuttle Endeavour took off from Florida with her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, in command.

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Filed under: Arizona • Courts • Crime • Justice
soundoff (201 Responses)
  1. banasy

    Clearly he is mentally unstable.
    This is the right call.
    Keep in mind that when he is judged competent, he will go on trial.
    I agree (mostly) with Hoopla; he'll not be a part of our society again.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Robert

    Our legal system fails us everyday. This is just another example of what is wrong with America.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. beevee

    I am not sure that 'I am not guilty' are his words or his lawyers. I am curious about how a mentally incompetent person maintains that he is not guilty (of murdering people. If he can think that much how can he be not competent?

    May 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy

      It's standard procedure for a court-ordered attorney to enter a not guilty plea pending any arraignment.

      May 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Phil

    Interesting. I doubt this has definitive bearing on the status of state charges against him. He'll face murder charges in state court as well. Normally the federal case gets first priority. But if they aren't going to go forward, I'm sure there are State DA's chomping at the bit.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tom

    A load of crap! I live in Tucson. This guy planned this so how can he be "not competent"? This is exactly what is wrong with our judicial system. A .10 cent bullet to put this guy out of our misery is all that is needed.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • CCL

      The voices in his head helped him to plan it. That's why he's not competent. He's psychotic. Read about schizophrenia.

      May 25, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cuz

    I've seen this act before, and that is exactly what it is. This guy knew full well what he was going to do long before he did it and took all the necessary steps before hand to ensure he was found not competent to stand trial.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Peta

    I think we should send him for a hike along the Iran/Iraq border.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Davis

      A place that he would fit in? Why?

      May 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JacBill

    I wish the media would stop showing that picture of him! He looks so creepy!

    May 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. VBD

    To me that means the judge isn't competent to judge. He sure knew enough to plan his attack, he just seems to have missed someone in the judges family.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    No pictures of any time during the shooting incident. Eyewitnesses clearly actors. Mixed stories. Loughner isn't on record at the jail. Nobody has heard of Dr. Lamole at the hospital where he claims to work. Gabby Giffords originally cared for in secret by military surgeons. A bullet supposedly travels completely through her brain and she is almost fully recovered??? Are you folks getting the picture yet? This is all script-written. The shooting was a staged event. Investigate these things yourself.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peta

      Ha...somebody keep and eye on Bill...pretty sure he the next lunatic out there.

      May 25, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Judge

    He is deranged..mental prison for the rest of his life

    May 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • brando

      sad thing is, if it is proven and shown that he was psychotic and is in fact a schizophrenic, he already was and will be in a "mental prison." and he never had a choice, apparently.

      May 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. peter

    does anybody talk about that nine year old who's life was taken?!

    May 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corzich

      Plenty, peter. All the frickin time actually. Born on 9/11, grandad was in baseball, yadda yadda. You never hear anything about the 30 year old guy or the retirees. Apparently, our lives are worth less once we're adults and no longer adorable.
      RIP for ALL.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Randy

    Wow. What a shocker! Tongue-in-cheek, of course. Well, pal – just be content to stay in a mental facility for however many years it takes to gain competency, and then we'll see you at trial. You can't always fake mental illness. During your stay, say hello to Nurse Rached for us. You'll love her.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. HSC

    Loughner knew what he was doing. This is his way out of the death penalty. Act like a nut, then claim you aren't.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. CCL

    I am by no means making excuses for people who commit terrible crimes and murders, but when I see people saying mentally ill individuals need to be hung it makes me so sad. Do you people truly not understand what mental illness is? This is so sad that in America aside from the lack of health care we are able to receive in an affordable manner, people don't consider mental health to be important. This guy is seriously messed up in his head. I'm not doctor, but if you understand what narcissism and schizophrenia are, you will realize why he is smiling. He needs to be locked up in a mental health facility. Not killed. He doesn't understand what he did was wrong. How are people so ignorant about mental health disorders? Apparently I'm the only person to feel this way after reading the comments written above.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Davis

      I understand your points but how do you not understand that there is a point when a person is no longer a productive member of society and should be removed from it by death. If this isn't a case where that should apply then I don't know when there will be.

      May 25, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      CCL,
      Let's face it; he is a loser and doesn't deserve to live.
      I'd tell him directly to his face and I'd tell his mother too.
      For that matter, I'd stand up at a trial and tell any judge in this country.
      Granted, he has mental issues; SOLUTION = DEATH GAME OVER (same as Bin Laden)

      May 25, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Davis

      "GAME OVER"? I knew you were a gamer Chuck.

      May 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • willie

      There are many mentally ill people in America, how many of them plan and execute an assassination? Using his apparent mental illness is just an excuse for his horrible act. He wasn't too crazy to be locked up before he committed this heinous crime, he certainly isn't too crazy to stand trial now. Actions speak louder than words.

      May 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • brando

      DAVIS-the nazi's had a program with said purpose in mind, it was called euthanasia. the genocide of thousands of mentally ill and retarded patients deemed "unfit" for society, which was a program predating the genocide of the jews. i sincerely hope you're not suggesting we take a lesson from the nazi's.

      May 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
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