The suspect in the shooting of Arizona Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been charged with two federal counts of murder and three federal counts of attempted murder after the Saturday shooting rampage in Tuscon. Six were killed and 14 injured. Chief U.S. District Judge John Roll was among those killed.
Loughner appeared in the Phoenix courtroom of U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence Anderson shortly and "appeared to understand what was happening" reports CNN.
Loughner wore a tan-colored prison outfit, and his head was shaved. He appeared nervous at first, according to [CNN's Ted] Rowlands. Loughner looked at the ceiling and his eyes darted back and forth. His hands and feet were shackled. Loughner sat next to his lawyer and seemed to acknowledge things she said, according to Rowlands.
During the proceeding, [Federal Public Defender] Judy Clarke expressed "great concern" about having Arizona judges involved with the case going forward, signaling that she may try to move the case out of state or have an outside judge brought in to handle it.
Once Anderson took the bench, Loughner made his way to a podium. The judge read the charges against him and asked Loughner a series of simple questions: "Are you Jared Lee Loughner?" "Do you understand the charges?" By Rowlands' account, the suspect appeared to understand what was happening. He answered the judge calmly and clearly, leaning forward into the microphone to be heard.
Loughner's next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 24. The 22-year-old could be sentenced to death or be given life in prison.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the target of alleged gunman Jared Loughner's shooting rampage, remains in critical condition in a medically induced coma. Doctors say it was a "miracle" that she survived a gunshot wound to the head at near point-blank range.
Tuscon massacre shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner will make his first court appearance this afternoon. The charges, crime scene and attempted assassination plot are detailed in USA vs Jared Lee Loughner, uploaded to Scribd and can be read above.
Tuscon massacre shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner will make his first court appearance this afternoon. Loughner will appear before a federal magistrate in Phoenix, Arizona at 4P ET/2P MT, reports CNN. The suspect in shooting of Arizona Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been charged with two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder after the shooting rampage at Giffords' political event on Saturday.
The federal charges against Jared Loughner are related to the shootings of five federal employees, including the shooting deaths of U.S. District Judge John Roll and Giffords' staff member Gabriel Zimmerman, and the injuries to staffers Ron Barber and Pamela Simon.
Loughner has invoked his right against self-incrimination and is not talking with investigators, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said over the weekend. But court documents released Sunday show that investigators found a letter from the congresswoman in a safe at the house where Loughner lived with his parents, thanking him for attending a similar 2007 event. "Also recovered in the safe was an envelope with handwriting on the envelope stating, 'I planned ahead,' and 'my assassination' and the name 'Giffords,' along with what appears to be Loughner's signature," the affidavit says.
The items in the safe apparently form the basis of an assassination plot. Nick Baumann at Mother Jones (via Politico's Ben Smith) spoke to an associate of Jared Loughner, who claims Loughner's rage at Gifford was unleashed after she did not "satisfactorily" answer an esoteric question that he posed.
"He told me that she opened up the floor for questions and he asked a question. The question was, 'What is government if words have no meaning?' Giffords' answer, whatever it was, didn't satisfy Loughner. "He said, 'Can you believe it, they wouldn't answer my question,' and I told him, 'Dude, no one's going to answer that,'" Tierney recalls. "Ever since that, he thought she was fake, he had something against her."
"The 9mm pistol used in the shootings was purchased at a gun store in November, FBI Director Robert Mueller told reporters Sunday. And a law enforcement source said the suspect tried to buy ammunition at a Walmart, but was turned down because of his behavior. Another Walmart later sold him the ammunition, the source said."
Who would have guessed that it's easier for unstable extremists to buy 9mm weapons than ammunition?
Adds the Arizona Republic: "A federal public defender known for handling high-profile cases, Judy Clarke, has been appointed to represent Loughner, a federal judicial source said. Clarke defended 'Unabomber' Ted Kaczynski and assisted in the case of confessed al Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui."