Loughner, Giffords’ shooter, changes plea to guilty

(JTA) — Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty to the shooting attack that killed six and seriously injured then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The change reportedly was in exchange for a plea bargain that would see Loughner sent to prison for life but avoiding the death penalty for the 19 counts against him, including murder, attempted murder and the attempted assassination of the Arizona congresswoman.

“The pain and loss caused by the events of Jan. 8, 2011 are incalculable," Gifford’s husband, Mark Kelly, said in a statement. "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.”

Giffords did not attend the hearing, Reuters reported.

Loughner, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, has been declared mentally competent to understand the charges against him.

Along with the six people killed, a dozen were injured in the shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz.

Giffords, the first Jewish woman elected to Congress from Arizona, was shot in the head and continues to undergo intensive therapy. She resigned from Congress in January.
 

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