June 20, 2013
Tucson gunman Loughner pleads guilty to murder, attempted murder
A 23-year-old college dropout pleaded guilty on Tuesday to killing six people and wounding 13 others, including then-US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, in an Arizona shooting rampage last year, and will be spared the death penalty in exchange.
Jared Loughner entered his guilty pleas in federal court in Tucson shortly after he was ruled mentally competent to stand trial on charges, including first degree murder, by US District Judge Larry Burns.
"I plead guilty," Loughner, dressed in a khaki prison jumpsuit, said to each of the 19 counts read in court by Burns.
Giffords, a US representative from Arizona who was seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party, was meeting constituents at a Tucson supermarket on Jan. 8 last year when she was shot through the head at close range. The six people killed include a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.
Under a plea agreement, federal prosecutors, who originally charged Loughner with 49 criminal counts, have agreed not to seek the death penalty against him. Burns will sentence Loughner on Nov. 15, and he could face multiple terms of life in prison.
The 19 counts he pleaded guilty to include murder, attempted murder and the attempted assassination of Giffords.
During an exchange with the judge before formally entering his plea, Loughner admitted going to the Congress-on-your-corner event hosted by Giffords armed with a Glock pistol with a plan to kill the congresswoman.
He also admitted shooting other people there with the intention to kill them because they had attended the event.