Suspect in Congresswoman’s Shooting Pleads Guilty

Posted August 7th, 2012 at 5:25 pm (UTC-5)
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The suspect in the January 2011 shooting in Arizona that wounded a U.S. congresswoman and killed six others has pleaded guilty in court.

Jared Lee Loughner's guilty plea Tuesday in Tucson, Arizona allowed him to avoid the death penalty for his crime. The Department of Justice says that under terms of his plea agreement, Loughner will be sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences, followed by 140 more years in prison.

U.S. Attorney John Leonardo says the agreement assures that the defendant will “spend the remainder of his natural life in prison with no possibility of parole.”

The shooting gained international attention last year because U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was Loughner's intended target.

A federal judge in Arizona ruled Loughner mentally incompetent to stand trial last year after he spent five weeks at a hospital undergoing psychiatric evaluations. But a federal judge ruled Tuesday that Loughner is now competent enough to understand the charges against him.