Loughner Faces 2 Fewer Charges for Arizona Shooting

     TUCSON, Ariz. (CN) – A federal judge on Monday dismissed two of the five charges against accused gunman Jared Lee Loughner, including allegations that he killed U.S. District Judge John Roll in a January shooting rampage that left six people dead and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords with a near-fatal head wound.

     In a brief order signed Friday, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns dismissed counts two and three of the original complaint against Loughner, filed Jan. 9. The judge dismissed the counts without prejudice, giving prosecutors leave to file the charges again later.
     A U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman said the move was a formality and that prosecutors will file a new indictment against Loughner by March 9.
     While the original complaint includes five counts, the current indictment charges Loughner only with the attempted assassination of Giffords, the attempted murders of her staffers Pamela Simon and Ron Barber.
     The deaths of Roll and Giffords’ employee Gabriel Zimmerman are still being investigated, and had to be dismissed in the meantime, spokesman Robbie Sherwood said.
     Sherwood said that prosecutors would file a “catchall superseding indictment” against Loughner, which will include charges that he murdered Roll and Zimmerman, in time for a March 9 status hearing in Tucson.
     State charges in connection to the shooting have not yet been filed.

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