Aug 7, 2012 4:17 PM

Loughner pleads guilty to 19 charges, to get life in prison

TUCSON - Jared Loughner has pleaded guilty to 19 counts in a plea agreement that will save him from the death penalty in favor of life in prison.

At a federal courthouse in Tucson this morning, forensic psychologist Dr. Christina Pietz testified that she diagnosed Loughner with schizophrenia, and he is now able to comprehend legal proceedings, and can assist his attorneys.

Sitting next to his attorneys, with a shaved head, relaxed posture, and crossed arms, Loughner kept his eyes focused on the witness stand during the testimony.

Dr. Pietz testified that in her opinion, Loughner is competent to proceed with legal proceedings.
Federal Judge Larry Burns, agreed, saying that due to his personal observations, testimony and evidence, he finds Loughner competent to continue with legal proceedings.

With his competency restored, Loughner proceeded to take the oath of court and then pleaded guilty to 19 charges for the mass shooting on January 8 which left six people dead and 13 others wounded, including former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

As Judge Burns read each of the 19 counts, Loughner repeatedly said: "I plead guilty" after each count. The prosecuting attorneys stated that in exchange for the plea deal, they would not seek the death penalty.

After the counts were read and Loughner pleaded guilty, Judge Burns said the mandatory penalty is life in prison with no chance of appeal.

Sentencing for Loughner was set for November 15 at 10 a.m.

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