August 6th, 2012 by faye
Jared Loughner, the man who was accused of shooting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, which left six dead and 12 other people injured in Tucson, Arizona, last year wants to plead guilty — claims sources familiar with the case.
According to reports, the federal judge handling the shooting case of Loughner had scheduled a status hearing in Tucson this Tuesday to get an update from prison doctors in charge of treating Jared Loughner, who has been under mental health treatment in a Bureau of Prisons hospital shortly after the shooting.
Now, sources claim that Loughner wants to plead guilty at the hearing, and the doctors who are treating him are prepared to testify that he is mentally competent to offer a plea. However, the acceptance of a plea deal from Jared Loughner will not be automatic. Under the federal court rules, the judge should be satisfied that a guilty plea is “knowing and voluntary.” As such, it will require a judge to ask Loughner a number of questions in open court to be certain that he indeed has the capacity to understand what a guilty plea means, which includes the fact that he will also give up all his appeal rights.
According to a federal official, any agreement to accept the plea deal will require Jared Loughner to serve a sentence of lifetime in prison. In case he is to stand trial, he might face a death penalty if convicted. If the judge accepts the guilty plea, his sentence will then be determined at a later time after another hearing.
Meanwhile, legal sources said that the terms of any plea agreement are still in the process of being worked out, and it is still not clear if Jared Loughner will plead guilty to all his charges in the federal indictment or only some of them.
Previous reports have stated that the Arizona shooting, which happened outside a supermarket in Tucson, severely wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, killed six people and wounded 12 others.
The shooting incident in Tucson, Arizona, happened while Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was sponsoring an event to meet with constituents outside a store. Among the victims who were killed were federal Judge John Roll; nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green; and Gabe Zimmerman, a Giffords staffer,
Rep. Giffords spent more than one year in Houston, Texas, undergoing intensive speech and physical therapy in a recovery that family and doctors have called “miraculous.” However, Gabrielle Giffords was not able to fully return Congress and decided to resign instead in January this year.
Ron Barber, a staffer of Rep. Giffords who luckily survived two gunshot wounds in the shooting incident, won the seat of Giffords in a special election last June.