Giffords Gunman Jared Loughner Jailed For Life

Giffords Gunman Jared Loughner Jailed For Life

A man who admitted killing six people and injuring others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, in a shooting rampage has been jailed for life.

US District Judge Larry Burns sentenced Jared Loughner, 24, for the January 2011 attack in Tucson, Arizona.

He pleaded guilty to federal charges under an agreement that guarantees he will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The hearing marked the first time victims could confront Loughner in court. Ms Giffords' husband Mark Kelly spoke on her behalf, saying his actions had changed his wife's life forever.

The former astronaut said: "Her life has been forever changed. Every day is a continuous struggle to do those things she once was so good at.

"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."

Ms Giffords embraced her husband and they then walked away, with her limping.

Loughner showed no emotion as one by one other survivors addressed him.

Mavanell Stoddard, who was shot three times and cradled her dying husband as he lay bleeding on the pavement after shielding her from the spary of bullets, said: "You took away my life, my love and my reason for living."

Another victim, Susan Hileman, told him: "We've been told about your demons, about the illness that skewed your thinking.

"Your parents, your schools, your community, they all failed you.

"You pointed a weapon and shot me three times. And now I walked out of this courtroom and into the rest of my life and I won't think of you again."

Loughner admitted 19 federal charges - including murder and attempted assassination - as part of a plea deal three months ago. That deal meant he would avoid the death penalty.

He did not speak during the sentencing for the mass shooting, which took place outside a supermarket.

Ms Giffords has made a remarkable recovery from the traumatic head injuries she suffered, but has since retired from her political post.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Loughner will likely see out his life in a prison psychiatric unit, with no possibility of parole.

He was originally judged to be mentally unfit to stand trial and diagnosed as schizophrenic.

But he then underwent months of forced medication and treatment to restore his competency at a federal prison hospital in Missouri.

Psychologists eventually decided he could be tried, just before the plea deal was finalised.

The sentencing will mark the end of the federal case against Loughner, but he could still be tried for murder and other crimes in the Arizona state court.

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