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Loughner pleads guilty to killings

Jared Loughner

TUCSON — A 23-year-old man pleaded guilty yesterday to killing six people and wounding 13 others, including then-US Representative 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 US District Judge Larry Burns ruled that he was mentally competent to stand trial following over a year of treatment at a prison psychiatric hospital.

“I plead guilty,” Loughner, dressed in a khaki prison jumpsuit with his hair trimmed short, said to each of the 19 counts read in court by Burns.

He was calm throughout the hearing and appeared to be following the proceedings closely, leaning forward slightly in his chair.

The plea deal calls for Loughner to be sentenced to seven consecutive life prison terms without the possibility of parole, sparing him the death penalty. A sentencing hearing was set for November 15.

Giffords, then a US lawmaker from Arizona who was seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party, was meeting constituents at a Tucson supermarket on January 8 last year when she was shot through the head at close range. (Reuters)

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