Thursday, September 28, 2023
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Loughner Not Competent to Stand Trial

TUCSON, Ariz. (CN) - Jared Lee Loughner yelled at a federal judge during a competency hearing Wednesday in which the court determined that he was not competent to stand trial for a shooting rampage that killed six people and injured 13, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns called a recess and had Loughner escorted from the courtroom after the accused screamed: "Thanks for the freak show. She died in front of me." It is uncertain whether Loughner said "freak show" or "free show."

Two examining physicians, Drs. Christina Pietz and Matthew Carroll, both told Burns that Loughner is incompetent and suffers from schizophrenia.

Loughner has delusions about his attorneys and cannot assist in his defense, evidence showed.

The 22-year-old will be commited for up to four months, with another hearing scheduled for September.

Once the judge booted Loughner from the courtroom Wednesday, he waived his right to be present after the recess.

Loughner's attorney Judy Clarke described her client as "seriously ill" during a hearing in March. He has since spent more than a month under examination at a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility in Missouri, despite Clarke's objection to the 9th Circuit.

Recent court filings show that neither Clarke nor the prosecution will dispute conclusions gleaned from the Missouri sessions.

Burns' ruling is expected to postpone both the federal and state trials against Loughner indefinitely.

Loughner has sent two personal letters to Burns since being evaluated in Missouri, according to court documents. The judge shared their content only with Clarke, saying that "the subject matter pertains to the attorney-client relationship."

Loughner is accused of killing six people and wounding 13, including Rep. Giffords, at the congresswoman's rally on Jan. 8. U.S. District Judge John Roll and Gabriel Zimmerman, a Giffords' aide, were among those killed.

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