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. dom youngross

    There's no noble moral aspect to keeping an apprehended clear-cut murderer alive any more than 60 days past apprehension, especially if at least three if not many reliably witnessed the murder(s) and the murder(s) occurred recently. This is mainly about someone(s) making a living. At the heart of it, this is a livelihood issue.

    More people can earn their living and for a longer period with Loughner being declared incompetent. Mental-health workers can get in and make some money plying their trade. The lawyers defending Loughner can bill more hours, and have time to hire more experts. Guards in prisons and mental-health facilities can better earn a living too. The longer it takes to get Loughner to his deserved destiny with the death penalty, the more many can better and more-assuredly earn their living.

    Mental-health workers, lawyers, and guards aren't bad people. Far from it. Their work is indispensible. It's just that their vested interests in keeping apprehended murderers alive more than 60 days past apprehension inevitably coalesces and skews things.

    As a result of this and not surprisingly, pursuing the death penalty in capital cases - then actually carrying out the sentence - has become exceedingly expensive and time-consuming, and a grievous emotional burden to family and friends of the victim(s). And that seems to be the whole illicit point as the desired goal of those opposing the death penalty: Make pursuing the death penalty and actually carrying out the sentence cost-prohibitive.

    The lawyer for another clear-cut murderer, Nidal Malik Hasan, a treasonous murderer still alive a year-and-a-half past his 5 Nov. 2009 murder and mayhem spree and apprehension, as witnessed by many, is arguing to spare him from the death penalty because of what? The time and money expense of pursuing the death penalty.

    Loughner should have been at the end of a rope by now, then buried. And Nidal Malik Hasan should have been in front of a firing squad long ago, then his ashes scattered. That their continued existence is the result of the economic stimulus they pose to those whose livelihoods (and political opinions) are based on extending such existence - more than on morality - is immoral itself.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doctor Dave

      Out of curiosity, what makes you disagree with the concept of legal appeal? Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, should have a death sentence carried out until all legal remedies available to the condemned are exhausted. It only takes one mistake to change an executed prisoner into a murder victim. If you really think convictions which result in death penalties are 100% correct every time, I suggest you do a little research on the over 130 individuals who were sentenced to death and awaiting execution but were exonerated due to evidence of their innocence before their sentences were carried out.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThinkAgain

      We have this little thing called a legal process – you might want to do some reading on it. As distasteful as it sometimes is, it is important that Loughner go through the process (just like the Nazi's went through the Nuremberg trials).

      May 26, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank the /tank

      Prison systems are a business, the more heads the more funding required you don't make money executing quickly, they want them alive as long as they can be legally.

      May 26, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobbit

      You have a lousy sense of morality. We have good reason to believe that Loughner was too delusional to understand what he was doing, though we won't know for sure until more of the facts come out.

      Say though that we find out he shot everyone while having insane delusions and hallucinations so that he didn't understand what he was doing. If that's the case I don't see what reason we have to hate him. His brain just doesn't work right. He didn't ask for that. Yes the public needs to be protected from him, but executing him is being too harsh.

      May 26, 2011 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  2. misty

    So, dom youngross, you want to make more people unemployed, is that it? That would satisfy your vampire ways?

    May 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. outofcontrol

    Sarah Palin made me write this!

    May 25, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Aaron

    This dude just may be crazier than Palin, though that is a long shot.

    May 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Snookie

    So the guy really is mentally ill. It is a shame nobody did anything before this tragedy. The state of the US mental health care is appalling and I'm sure there are many others like him out there with severe mental illness that are ignored until something really bad happens.

    This is just a tragedy all the way around for those who were injured and killed as well as for this kid's family.

    To those who make the comments to just execute him, what if this was your child or parent or sibling. It is easy to say things like that when it isn't someone you are close to.

    May 25, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      Terrible that he was marginalized and overlooked by a broken system, and to the family of this boy I feel real sympathy, but at the minimum he needs to be put away forever. I mean he killed people with families. Two wrongs don't make a right but he needs to be locked up.

      May 26, 2011 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Cranky

      So if he killed people without families, you'd be okay with releaseing him back into public?

      May 26, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lana G

    to the artist- beautiful drawing !

    May 25, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Roscoe

    Maybe there will be prison justice for Jared.

    May 25, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. charles

    My dear friends and fellow reading companions. There is a clear definition between morals and ethics. There is what we believe to be right and true by the upbringing we receive socially in our home and environment and what is defined as right and wrong by lawful written doctrine and religious doctrine. I leave you with this example: if it were my family member that was brutally injured or assassinated, I would emotionally want to see the culprit hang and burn. But it doesn't mean its the right approach. "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, I came to show you a better way"

    May 26, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
    • charles

      I am not a religious idealist or an insensitive person as to the gravity of this horrific act of violence but philosophically inspired by the mere concept of good and evil and how it is depicted by devine intervention or human interpretation in regards to compassion and aspirations to rising above hatred which spawns even further evil.

      May 26, 2011 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
    • charles

      "an act" which inspires further evil.

      May 26, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      I agree but the way it works is you kill a bunch of people like a wild rabid maniac then you get medicated into a docile stuper, tried, convicted and executed. See how easy that is.

      May 26, 2011 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mental My a - -

    Mental my – – -. If this killer had Jesus in his life he won't be a mental case. Some people are very good at playing the system and playing people and that is exactly what he did with the doctors and judge, etc

    May 26, 2011 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. kevin

    I am wondering if Sarah Palin is feeling any responsibility for this. She should. all the ____ that comes out of her mouth.

    May 26, 2011 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
  11. chillipepper

    Blaming Sara Palin when this first happened was a new low for the rabid liberal media.To come out with that was just as insane as Loughner. Who gave the go ahead for such a wild crazy connection? UNBELIEVABLE!!!

    May 26, 2011 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. Republicans - "The not Intened to be factually accurate Party"

    Every GOP or Democratic politician that has backed pro-gun legislation has responsibility for these murders.

    They are cowards. There is ZERO need for 31 bullet clips of ammo .This is what this assasin had; it is what allowed him to Kill SO MANY before the courageous citizens could tackle this punk.

    If he hadn`t been allowed a gun with such capacity, that 9-year old girl would be alive today. That`s a fact.

    America has the highest rate of death by gun in the world. That`s a fact.

    You don`t see criminals in other countries having a weapons advantage over police and the public, so that tired line from the NRA is yet another lie – another of those "not intended to be factually accurate" statements from right wing, conservative zealots.

    We, as a country, can no longer afford these people.

    May 26, 2011 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. a good friend of "god", buddhist to this earth

    the only opinion tht matters is from some1 who never did anything wrong in their lifetime....*dead silence*

    May 26, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  14. Elephant In The Room

    Let`s be straight with one another.

    A). We have clear, succienct, straight forward evidence he killed 6 people. We have video, we have him caught in the act. If anyone deserves SWIFT punishment, its him. He should be dead by tomorrow.

    B.) Arizona has the most liberal gun laws in the world. The man was able to get a gun easiliy AND get a magazine that held over THIRTY (30) bullets at once. There is NO NEED for that. Gun clips to the public should be restricted to lesser of 6 bullets or 50% of the capacity of the police`s guns. This law should be enacted tomorrow.

    May 26, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dan

    He should be put down. What use will he ever be to society? Now the tax payers have to foot the bill for his care.

    May 26, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
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