Jared Loughner, Arizona Shooter Gets Life in Prison for Shooting Gabrielle Gifford and Others in Tucson
Nov 08, 2012 03:50 PM EST
The Tucson gunman who opened fire killing six people and seriously injuring a dozen others including congresswoman Gabrielle 'Gabby' Giffords in January of 2011, Jared Lee Loughner was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday.
Some of the victims and family members read out statements at the sentencing.
Gifford's husband, Mark Kelly said, "Her life has been forever changed. Plans she had for our family and her career have been immeasurably altered...Every day is a continuous struggle to do those things she once was so good at," as reported by the Associated Press.
Mavanell Stoddard, whose husband was shot to death, said, "You took away my life, my love and my reason for living," as reported by the Associated Press.
Earlier Thursday afternoon, Loughner declined to speak at his sentencing in the court.
The 24-year-old pled guilty to 19 charges of murder, while the judge dismissed 30 other charges against him in early August. The plea allows Loughner to escape the death penalty after experts testified that he suffered from schizophrenia, despite reports from court-appointed psychiatrist Christina Pietz stating that he was mentally competent to stand trial.
In August, during an psych-evaluation, Loughner told Pietz, that he failed to kill the 42-year-old congresswoman, according to her testimony in a court hearing.
According to Pietz's hour-long testimony, 23-year-old Loughner often referred to Giffords as dead, when Pietz corrected him telling him that she was alive, he said that if she survived the gun shot to her head and other body parts, that makes him a "failure," as reported on Reuters, "If this is true (Giffords' survival) I am a failure." He told Pietz "I'm not an assassin...Jared Loughner failed again. He's a failure... So all of this would be for nothing," referring to the survival of his intended target Gifford, as reported by Reuters.
Never the less, decision to give Loughner life in prison rather than capital punishment seems to have pleased both sides; victims have expressed gratitude for not having to testify in court on the horrific incident. In a joint statement with her husband astronaut Mark Kelly, Giffords released a statement saying she was pleased with the court's decision.
"The pain and loss caused by the events of Jan. 8, 2011, are incalculable...Avoiding a trial will allow us -- and we hope the whole Southern Arizona community -- to continue with our recovery," as reported by CBS News.
Judge Larry A. Burns said that the decision was in the best interest of the victims. Judge Burns told the court, "He's a different person in his appearance and his affect than the first time I laid eyes on him," as reported by CBS News.
Loughner will receive his sentencing on Thursday. He will be convicted with seven back-to-back life-in-prison terms, without possibility of parole, according to the Associated Press.
On January 8, 2011, Loughner opened fire in Tucson, Arizona shooting six people including nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green and U.S. District Judge John Roll. Giffords was shot in the head and then in the stomach, the shot injuries have left the 45-year-old with permanent speech impairment and a limp. The 13 other victims also suffered from severe injuries.