Tragedy in Tucson

Mar 9, 2011 11:01 AM

Tucson massacre victims battle to recover

TUCSON (MSNBC) - Jared Lee Loughner, the Arizona man accused of killing six people in January's tragic shooting in Tucson, is expected to be arraigned on new charges today.

It's been two full months since the Saturday morning burst of gun fire destroyed and damaged so many lives. Loughner was initially charged for crimes against federal employees, including Congresswoman Giffords, but this indictment includes all alleged victims - meaning no victims or families will have to wait added years for their cases to be heard.

Giffords' aid Pam Simon says, "Time heals all things. i have heard that from many people."

Giffords director Ron Barber is working to overcome what two bullets did to him, and Suzy Hielman is up in a walker now getting her mail, alive.

"The sun came up and I got to see it," she says. "It's a great day."

Given the new indictment, Jared Loughner will be tried for Hielman's injuries and the death of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green. In this potential death penalty case, Loughner will answer to all shooting victims, not just the dead and injured federal employees.

"If Christina were here i would take her and we would watch," Hielman says. "And we would hold hands and make each other be brave. It's not often you are in the presence of evil."

Barber says he tries to not think about Loughner, focusing on plans to turn to work for a woman he so admires.

"I don't know what deficit there may be but I would bet she will be back, fully engaged, representing the people of the district as she has with vigor and energy," Barber says.

In the meantime, Loughner, who has pled not guilty, could be in prison awaiting trial for a long, long time.

Loughner's infamous YouTube videos, prosecutors say, along with internet postings, show the defendant may have mental issues and thus should be examined to see if he's confident to stand trial. The defense is trying to push the trial date to 2013. Pima county prosecutor Barbara LaWall says it could happen.

"Justice does grind slowly, particularly in capital cases and particularly with a mental health defense of some sort," LaWall says.

As for Giffords, the word from Houston is she may be able to attend the April 19th launch of the shuttle "Endeavor" captained by her husband Mark Kelly.


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