Victims Speak to Gunman During Sentencing

loughner

TUCSON, Ariz. — (CNN) — Jared Loughner, the Arizona man who pleaded guilty to the attempted assassination of then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will be formally sentenced Thursday.

Federal prosecutors have said Loughner will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the January 2011 shooting, which killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords.

The congresswoman was holding a meet-and-greet event with constituents in Tucson when Loughner walked up and shot her in the head.

As part of a plea deal with the government, Loughner, 24, pleaded guilty in August to 19 charges in exchange for the sentence to avoid facing the death penalty. Under the plea agreement, Loughner admitted guilt in the wounding of Giffords and the murders of federal employees U.S. District Court Chief Judge John M. Roll, 63, and congressional aide Gabriel M. Zimmerman, 30.

Loughner admitted causing the deaths of Christina-Taylor Green, 9; Dorothy “Dot” J. Morris, 76; Phyllis C. Schneck, 79; and Dorwan C. Stoddard, 76, prosecutors said.

Loughner also pleaded guilty to the attempted murders of federal employees and congressional aides Ronald S. Barber, 65, and Pamela K. Simon, 63, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors agreed to the plea deal after taking into account Loughner’s history of mental illness and the views of victims and their families. The judge in August ruled Loughner competent to stand trial.

Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, plan to appear in court for the first time in the case, a source close to Giffords said, adding Kelly plans to speak on behalf of the family.

Below is a progression of the sentencing proceedings and some of the victims’ statements made in court Thursday morning, addressed to Loughner.

CNN’s Dana Bash and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

Michelle Pekarsky November 8, 20121:17 pm

1:15 pm CT- from CNN: Jared Loughner is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the January 2011 attempted assassination of then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the killings of six people and attempted murder of 13 others. “The evidence clearly shows that he knew what he was doing, despite his mental illness,” U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said.

Michelle Pekarsky November 8, 20121:05 pm

(CNN) — “It was an assault on democracy,” said the U.S. attorney prosecuting Jared Loughner for the January 2011 attempted assassination of then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the killing of six other people and attempted murder of 13 others. The comment came after a judge heard from several victims and just before a sentence was to be imposed.

Michelle Pekarsky November 8, 20121:04 pm

(CNN) — A former congressional aide wounded in the assassination attempt on then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords told a judge Thursday he supports a life sentence for confessed shooter Jared Loughner. “Now you must pay the price of the terror, violence and injuries you caused,” said Rep. Ron Barber, who now holds the congressional seat vacated by Giffords.

Michelle Pekarsky November 8, 20121:04 pm

“Jared, I know you did not choose this illness that led to this horrific tragedy,” Pamela Simon, a congressional aide wounded in Jared Loughner’s January 2011 shooting spree said at his sentencing hearing Thursday. “When you were a student in middle school and I was a teacher, you were a regular kid.”

Michelle Pekarsky November 8, 20121:04 pm

From CNN: Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, with the help of aides, returned to a sentencing hearing for the man who pleaded guilty to attempting to assassinate her. She had walked out of the hearing earlier as other victims read impact statements.

Michelle Pekarsky November 8, 20121:03 pm

Susan Hileman, who was wounded by Jared Loughner’s Glock pistol in the January 2011 shooting spree, stood before him at his sentencing hearing and spoke Thursday. “You pointed a weapon at me and shot me,” Hileman said. “Over last several months, I wanted to take you by the shoulders and shake you and scream at you.”

Michelle Pekarsky November 8, 20121:02 pm

12:44-from CNN-“My children will forever remember the moments of people when they died, the smell of blood everywhere,” said Mary Reed, one of several victims who spoke at Jared Loughner’s sentencing hearing Thursday. “Mr. Loughner introduced my children to something sinister and evil,” said Reed, who was wounded in Loughner’s January 2011 shooting spree.

Michelle Pekarsky November 8, 20121:02 pm

12:35-Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, with the help of aides, walked out of the sentencing hearing for the man who pleaded guilty to attempting to assassinate her before other victims presented their impact statements Thursday. Giffords sat next to husband on the second row of the packed courtroom as the judge ruled Jared Loughner was competent to be sentenced.

Michelle Pekarsky November 8, 20121:01 pm

12:20-A Bureau of Prison psychologist testified that Loughner was competent and understands sentencing proceedings. Dr. Christina Pietz said she visited with Loughner in prison “almost every day.”

Michelle Pekarsky November 8, 20121:00 pm

12:13- A prison psychologist testifies at Jared Loughner’s sentencing hearing Thursday that the Arizona man who pleaded guilty to the attempted assassination of then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is competent and understands proceedings.

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