Jared Loughner Officially Wants to Change His Plea if He's Found Competent

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Pima County Sheriff's Department
If Jared Loughner's found competent tomorrow, he'll be changing his plea.
The rumored change-of-plea for Jared Loughner -- the lone suspect in last year's shooting that killed six people and injured 13, including then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords -- is officially scheduled for tomorrow.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns signed the order today, indicating Loughner wants to change his plea from not guilty as part of a plea agreement.

"If the Court finds the defendant competent, his counsel has requested a follow-on change of plea hearing," the order says. "Accordingly, assuming the Court finds the defendant competent, it will also consider whether to accept the defendant's proffered pleas at the August 7 hearing."

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Jared Loughner Possibly Pleading Guilty in Tucson Massacre, Likely Wouldn't Be Executed

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Pima County Sheriff's Department
Jared Loughner
Jared Loughner -- the lone suspect in last year's shooting that killed six people and injured 13, including then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords -- is planning on entering a guilty plea this week, according to some anonymous people.

The Los Angeles Times said this weekend that Loughner's set to plead guilty tomorrow, and mental-health pros says he's competent to understand the charges, according to its "knowledgeable sources."

The Associated Press, citing "a person familiar with the case," says the plea deal would send Loughner to prison for life.

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Jared Loughner's Forced Medication to Continue; Dissenting Judge Says "How His Mind Works" Could Be His Best Defense

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Jared Loughner
Forcibly medicating Tucson mass-shooting suspect Jared Loughner got the approval from an appeals court yesterday, as two of the three judges on the panel approved of continuing Loughner's drug regimen.

This issue has been in the courts for a while, as doctors are trying to "restore his competency" to stand trial by forcing him to take a few medications.

Loughner -- the lone suspect in last year's shooting that killed six people and injured 14, including then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords -- is slated to be treated in a Missouri prison facility until June.

In the lengthy opinion from the court yesterday, the dissenting judge said the forced medication may infringe on Loughner's fair trial rights.

"Assuming Loughner will put on an insanity defense, manifestations in court of how his mind works may well be his own best evidence," Judge Marsha Berzon writes. "Because psychotropic medication chemically alters the brain, it 'deprives the jury of the opportunity to observe the defendant in the delusional state he was in at the time of the crime.'"

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Ron Barber, Gabrielle Giffords Aide Wounded in Tucson Shooting, to Run in Special Election

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Former Gabrielle Giffords aide Ron Barber hopes to finish his former boss' term in Congress.
Ron Barber, a former aide to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, announced this morning that he'll run in the special election to finish the remainder of Giffords' term.

Giffords resigned from Congress last month so she can focus on her recovery after getting shot in the head during last year's shooting rampage outside of a Tucson grocery store. Barber also was wounded during the shooting.

"Our community needs someone who will put politics aside and solve problems for the people of Southern Arizona," Barber says in a prepared statement. "My commitment is to be honest with the people of this district and help restore civility to our public life. My first priority won't be the next election -- but the next generation. That means balancing the budget the right way by protecting Social Security and Medicare, creating jobs, and securing our border."

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Gabrielle Giffords Officially Resigns From Congress

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C-Span
Gabrielle Giffords submits her letter of resignation to House Speaker John Boehner.
Gabrielle Giffords formally resigned from Congress this morning in an emotional goodbye that brought tears to the eyes of several lawmakers present -- including, of course, House Speaker John Boehner.

While holding Congressman Jeff Flake's hand, Giffords listened on as Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz read her letter of resignation to members of Congress, just over a year after Giffords was shot in the head during last year's Tucson shooting rampage.

A copy of the letter was given to Boehner and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

"I don't remember much from that terrible day, but I have never forgotten my constituents, my colleagues, or the millions of Americans with whom I share great hopes for this nation," Giffords writes in the letter.

See the full text of Giffords' emotional letter below.


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Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Will Step Down From Congress; Promises She "Will Return"


More than a year after getting shot in the head during last year's Tucson shooting rampage, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords this morning announced via-the Youtube video embedded above that she will step down from Congress.

See New Times' coverage of the Tucson shooting -- and Giffords' miraculous recovery -- here.

Tucson Shooting Victim George Morris: The Sight of Gabrielle Giffords Makes Him "Want to Vomit"

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This makes Tucson shooting victim George Morris "want to vomit."
When many of us see Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords doing so well after getting shot in the head during last year's shooting rampage at a grocery store just outside of Tucson, we're relieved, inspired -- even uplifted.

Not 77-year-old George Morris, who also is one of Jared Loughner's victims, and who lost his wife of 54 years, Dorothy, to one of Loughner's bullets. According to Morris, the sight of Giffords now makes him "want to vomit."

Morris was shot in the leg and back during the shooting. His wife was killed. He'd gone to the Safeway that day to give Giffords a piece of his mind -- a self-described "ultra-conservative," Morris was angry that Giffords was toeing the Democratic Party line by often voting in-sync with former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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Should Gabrielle Giffords Run For Congress Again?

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Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords reciting the pledge of allegiance one year after getting shot "through the brain."
Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the tragic day when a 23-year-old, severely mentally ill man named Jared Loughner shot 19 people at a Safeway just outside of Tucson, killing six.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, despite getting shot in the head during the rampage, led an estimated 3,500 people in the Pledge of Allegiance last night at the University of Arizona during a memorial for the victim's of Tucson's darkest day (see video below).

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Arizona Commemorates the Gabrielle Giffords Shooting One Year Later

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Keith Perfetti
(From left) Gabrielle Giffords, her husband Mark Kelly, Peter Rhee and Eugene Sander applaud Calexico and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra at the candlelight vigil to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the 'Tucson Tragedy' in Tucson, Arizona on Sunday, January 8, 2012. Calexico and the TSO performed 'Crystal Frontier,' a song which Giffords once sent to her husband Kelly while he was in space.
Over the weekend Arizona residents commemorated what has come to be known as the "Tucson Tragedy;" the day Jared Lee Loughner opened fire outside a Tucson Safeway killing six and wounding 14 including U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Residents from across Arizona and the country, including Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, participated in the memorial.

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Crossroads of the West's Tucson Gun Show Scheduled for Same Day as Anniversary of Jared Loughner's Deadly Rampage

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On the same day Tucson residents commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Tucson shooting that left 6 people dead and 14 others wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Crossroads of the West will hold a gun show at the Pima County Fairgrounds.

Crossroads of the West bills itself as one of the "largest and best" gun shows in the country. Organizers of the event did not immediately return a call for comment about the awkward/potentially offensive  timing.

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