Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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Fresh Indictment Raises Stakes in Loughner Trial

(CN) - A federal grand jury in Tucson, Ariz., returned a new indictment against Jared Lee Loughner that charges him with 49 crimes stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting rampage in which six people were killed and more than a dozen were wounded.

An earlier indictment, filed less than two weeks after the shooting, contained just five counts.

The original charges against Loughner, 22, included a charge for attempting to murder Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head at close range. The remaining charges included the attempted murder of two Giffords staffers, Ronald Barber and Pamela Simon, who were both shot multiple times and are recovering. Giffords is undergoing rehabilitation in Houston.

The new indictment, which was unsealed Friday, reasserts two counts of murder that the judge presiding over the case dismissed last month.

A U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman said at the time that the move was a formality, and that prosecutors will refile after further investigation into the murders of U.S. District Judge John M. Roll and Gabriel Zimmerman, another Giffords staffer.

Loughner now faces additional charges for the murders of lay citizens who were attending an open meeting for Rep. Giffords in a Safeway parking lot when the shooting occurred. Those four were Dorothy Morris, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwan Stoddard and Christina Taylor Green, a 9-year-old child.

"These final four Arizonans' lives were extinguished while exercising one of the most precious rights of American citizens, the right to meet freely and openly with their member of Congress," U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke wrote.

Several of the charges are punishable by death.

Loughner is set be arraigned on the new charges on Wednesday in Tucson. The U.S. Attorney's office noted that Pima County fully intends to various state charges against Loughner.

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