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Jared Lee Loughner Case: Feds Add Murder Charges, Potential Death Penalty

3 years ago
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The federal government's case against Jared Lee Loughner got bigger and more serious Friday after a grand jury returned a new, 49-count indictment charging the Tucson, Ariz., shooting suspect with multiple first-degree murder charges for his alleged role in the deadly Jan. 10 attack. A new arraignment in the case is set for March 9.

Six people, including Arizona Chief District Judge John M. Roll, were killed, and 14 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Gifford (D-Ariz.), were wounded when Loughner, 22, allegedly began shooting a semi-automatic weapon inside a supermarket during one of Rep. Giffords' public meetings in the Tucson area. The incident was reportedly recorded on store videotape. Loughner was arrested at the scene after he was tackled by bystanders.

The two federal murder charges contained in the superseding indictment make Loughner eligible for the death penalty if he is convicted. However, under longstanding Justice Department guidelines, Attorney General Eric Holder still must determine whether federal prosecutors intend to seek capital punishment for the man they say killed Judge Roll and Gabriel M. Zimmerman, one of the members of Rep. Giffords' staff. Federal officials said Friday that they were in the process of undertaking that review. There are currently 60 prisoners on federal death row, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

A statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona, issued in connection with the public release of the new indictment, read: "The deceased are not the only ones whose rights are being defended. Those citizens who were peaceably assembled to speak to their Member of Congress are also named as victims in the indictment." There was no immediate word from Loughner's attorneys. Loughner remains in federal custody in Tucson.

The federal grand jury also added new charges against Loughner relating to the deaths of the four other people slain in the attack who were not federal employees. Loughner is charged also with attempting to murder Rep. Giffords, who was shot in the head and who is now undergoing rehabilitation in Houston. The initial federal indictment against Loughner, handed up on Jan. 19, included only attempted murder charges.

Loughner's arraignment next week in Tucson will be presided over by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns, who normally presides in San Diego. Judge Burns was selected to handle the case after all of Arizona's federal trial judges recused themselves from the case because of the death of Judge Roll. Loughner is represented by Judith Clarke, a veteran defense attorney whose former clients include the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, and Zacarias Moussaoui, the terror conspirator involved in the 9/11 attacks.

The scope of the new indictment assures that state charges against Loughner will be delayed pending the resolution of the federal case. Officials with the Pima County Attorney's Office, which has local jurisidiction over the case, have promised to pursue such charges.

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10 Comments

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mickwd1

There is no question of this individual's guilt - as said, video taped evidence - and no question the most severe punishment is likely, and warranted.
However, the baseness of the commentary and dialogue says volumes about ourselves, our character, and serves as a significant indication of why our nation has grown in the direction it has. We are tasteless, tactless, ignorant, and naive. When we are not able to function in a more mature and educated manner than what our comments reveal, it is no wonder some in our society wander astray and sometimes to the extreme.
For those of you who will reply with uneducated and intollerably emototional responses, think twice about your comments and exactly what they mean, but first, consider if you are aware of what you are saying.
While this individual may be guilty of his heinous crimes, please, don't debase yourselves with the same hatefull and distasteful mentality that led him to where he is.
Use some common sense regarding your commentary. Clever is not always intelligent.

March 06 2011 at 4:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
richardkenosha

Potential Death Penalty???? He needs to die the slowest and most painful death that is legally available. He is scum and nneds to be put out our misery. Not free loading on a overloaded prison system at the tax payers expense!

March 05 2011 at 8:20 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
scottee

this guy is guilty until proven innocent, I think.

March 05 2011 at 7:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
meglovessun

Murdering Jared Loughner to show that murder is wrong .. accomplishes nothing but lowering his murderers to the same level as his own heinous crime. There are other ways to deal with him that will forever keep him from being able to do such acts again. I urge all thinking people to not consider the death penalty as a viable option for him.

March 05 2011 at 1:51 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to meglovessun's comment
leonardstique1

Being legally executed is no more murder than being legally incarcerated is being "kidnapped"

March 05 2011 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alabamalover116

He deserves the punishment. Who could shoot people and smile in the picture. Really.. they have it on video so you can not lie and Stop bringing up things that have NOTHING to do with this case to defend him.

March 04 2011 at 11:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BTC

I will be anxious to hear how is defense team plans to proceed.

March 04 2011 at 11:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to BTC's comment
smokeyblunts

he is going to plea insanity fo sho

March 12 2011 at 9:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
truthandfacts

vidio's of the crime, what defence could he possibley have? Plead guilty spare the taxpayers the expence of a trail. Beg the judge to give you the death and don't appeal. you did the crime now be a man and accept the punishment the people will give you that credit.

March 04 2011 at 10:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Sr' s Page

Why are we still using the term "alleged"....he's on tape shooting the people!

March 04 2011 at 9:23 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

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