Gabrielle Giffords's shooter to spend life in prison
Jared Loughner sentenced to 7 consecutive life sentences in Arizona
Former U.S. congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords hugged her husband after a judge sentenced the man who shot her and killed six people to life in prison.
Jared Loughner, 24, showed little response when he was sentenced to serve seven consecutive life sentences, plus 140 years in federal prison for the January 2011 shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords, outside a grocery store in Tucson, Ariz.
He watched people and appeared to be paying attention. He wore dress pants and a dark brown shirt with a tie.
Loughner's mother sobbed during the hearing. U.S. marshals escorted his parents from the courtroom after the sentencing.
Giffords, who is partially blind, her right arm paralyzed and limp, did not speak at the hearing but stood beside her husband as he spoke of her struggles to recover from being shot in the head.
"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," said astronaut Mark Kelly, both he and his wife staring at the shooter inside a packed courtroom.
"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."
Giffords kissed her husband after he finished speaking.
Loughner pleaded guilty three months ago to 19 federal charges under an agreement that guarantees he will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
He pleaded guilty under an agreement that guarantees he will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. He avoids a federal death sentence, although state prosecutors could still decide to try him.
One by one, survivors of the attack at a Giffords political event approached the courtroom podium to address Loughner, each turning toward him where he sat stoic and emotionless at a table with his attorneys.
Victims speak at hearing
"You took away my life, my love and my reason for living," said Mavanell Stoddard, who was shot three times and cradled her dying husband in her arms as he lay bleeding on the sidewalk after shielding her from the spray of bullets.
"I am so lonesome, hate living without him," she said, her voice cracking.
Her husband, 76-year-old Dorwin Stoddard, was shot in the head during the attack after diving to protect his wife. He lived another 10 minutes, then died in his wife's arms.
"You stopped our 15-year almost perfect marriage of total happiness," Mavanell Stoddard said, staring at Loughner. "You ended all that in an instant.
Susan Hileman, who was shot, spoke to him, at times visibly shaking.
"We've been told about your demons, about the illness that skewed your thinking," she said. "Your parents, your schools, your community, they all failed you.
"It's all true," Hileman said. "It's not enough.
"You pointed a weapon and shot me three times," she said, staring directly at Loughner. He looked back at her. "And now I walk out of this courtroom and into the rest of my life and I won't think of you again."
U.S. Representative Ron Barber, a former Giffords staffer who won election to her seat when she stepped down, stared down Loughner from the podium, at times almost scolding the confessed shooter.
"I am very angry and am sick of heart about what you have done and the hurt you have caused to all of us," said Barber, who was shot in the cheek and thigh as he stood with Giffords on the day of the attack. "And now you must pay the price. You must pay the price for the terror, injuries and deaths you caused."
Loughner didn't speak
Some victims, including Giffords, welcomed the plea deal as a way to move on. It spared them and their families from having to go through a potentially lengthy and traumatic trial and locks up the defendant for life.
Earlier, Loughner told Burns that he would not speak at the hearing.
Both sides reached the deal after a judge declared that Loughner was able to understand the charges against him. After the shooting, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and underwent forcible psychotropic drug treatments.
Christina Pietz, the court-appointed psychologist who treated Loughner, had warned that although Loughner was competent to plead guilty, he remained severely mentally ill and his condition could deteriorate under the stress of a trial.
When Loughner first arrived at a Missouri prison facility for treatment, he was convinced Giffords was dead, even though he was shown a video of the shooting. He eventually realized she was alive after he was forcibly medicated.
It's unknown whether Pima County prosecutors, who have discretion on whether to seek the death penalty against Loughner, will file state charges against him. Stephanie Coronado, a spokeswoman for Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall, said Wednesday that no decision had been made.
It's also unclear where Loughner will be sent to serve his federal sentence. He could return to a prison medical facility like the one in Springfield, Mo., where he's been treated for more than a year. Or he could end up in a prison such as the federal lockup in Florence, Colo., that houses some of the country's most notorious criminals, including Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols and "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski.