Loughner, Giffords’ shooter, changes plea to guilty

(JTA) — Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty to the shooting attack that killed six and seriously injured then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

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The change is reported to be in exchange for a plea bargain that would see Loughner sent to prison for life but avoiding the death penalty for the 19 counts against him, including murder, attempted murder and the attempted assassination of the congresswoman.

“The pain and loss caused by the events of January 8, 2011 are incalculable. Avoiding a trial will allow us – and we hope the whole southern Arizona community – to continue with our recovery and move forward with our lives,” Gifford’s husband, Mark Kelly, said in a statement.

Giffords did not attend the hearing, Reuters reported.

Loughner, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, has been declared mentally competent to understand the charges against him.

Six people were killed and a dozen injured in the Jan. 8, 2011 shooting rampage in Tucson.

Giffords, the first Jewish woman elected to Congress from Arizona, was shot in the head and continues to undergo intensive therapy. She resigned from Congress in January.

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