Federal judge rules accused Arizona shooter not competent to stand trial

[JURIST] A federal judge ruled Wednesday that accused Arizona shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, is not competent to stand trial due to mental illness. Judge Larry Burns for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] made the ruling based on separate reports [Arizona Daily Star report] by psychologist Dr. Christina Pietz and psychiatrist Dr. Matthew Carroll who both evaluated Loughner and agreed that he is schizophrenic. Both the defense and the prosecution [motions text] stipulated to the accuracy of the information contained in the reports. The judge agreed that Loughner is unable to understand the proceedings against him and is unable to help in his defense. He was ordered to a federal psychiatric facility where he may remain until being determined fit to stand trial. During the hearing, Loughner apparently made nonsensical outbursts interrupting the proceedings.

Loughner was indicted on 49-counts [JURIST report] in connection with the Arizona shooting earlier this year at a "Congress on your Corner" event hosted by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AR) [official website], who is believed by authorities to be the target of the shootings. The indictment carries more severe charges than the original indictment [JURIST report] filed in January, accounting for all victims of the attack and carrying more serious penalties. The previous indictment received criticism because some people felt that it ignored many of the victims. Six people were killed in the shooting [USA Today report], including a Giffords staffer, a 9-year-old girl and federal judge John Roll. Giffords was critically injured when she was shot in the head from point blank range.

 

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