Psychologist: Loughner not yet ready for trial

(JTA) — Jared Loughner is not yet competent to stand trial, according to the court-appointed psychologist in the case of the shooting that wounded Gabrielle Giffords.

Christina Pietz recommended evaluating Loughner’s competence in another four months, the Arizona Daily Star reported Feb. 2, citing a court order.

Loughner’s first four-month-stay is set to expire Feb. 8, and the judge in the case set a hearing for Monday to consider Pietz’s recommendation, the newspaper said.

"Dr. Pietz does, however, believe that the defendant has made measurable progress toward competency and that his mental state will continue to improve," the Daily Star quoted U.S. District Judge Larry Burns as saying in his order.

Loughner killed six people and wounded another 13 when he opened fire at a constituents’ meeting held by Giffords, who was then a congresswoman, in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 8, 2011.

Giffords has recovered partially from her wounds, but last month resigned from Congress to focus fully on her recovery.

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