Jared Lee Loughner Sentenced To Seven Life Sentences In Giffords Shooting
Jared Lee Loughner has been sentenced to life in prison for the shooting that resulted in the injury of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the murders of six other people:
Jared Lee Loughner, who shot former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head, killed six and wounded 12 others in a 2011 Tucson rampage, was sentenced to life in prison without parole after listening to some of his victims berate him for damaging their lives.
Loughner, now 24, received the sentence in a Tucson federal court after a series of emotional confrontations. After one woman spoke about the pain of losing her husband to Loughner’s bullet, Giffords turned to her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, and kissed him on the head, according to reports from journalists inside the courtroom.
When it was their turn to confront the shooter, Kelly and Giffords stood and looked directly at Loughner. It was the first time that Giffords has been face-to-face with Loughner. The defendant returned the couple’s gaze as Kelly explained how the bullet had changed his wife’s life, but couldn’t damage her spirit.
Gabby would trade her own life for one you took on that day,” Kelly said of his wife, whose efforts to recover have inspired many people across the nation. “Every day is a continuous struggle to do the things she was once so very good at.”
“Mr. Loughner, you may have put a bullet through her head but you haven’t put a dent in her spirit and her commitment to make the world a better place,” Kelly said, according to media reports.
“You tried to create for all of us a world as dark and evil as your own,” said the former astronaut as he looked at Loughner. “But know this, and remember it always: You failed.
“You have decades upon decades to contemplate what you did. But after today, after this moment, here and now, Gabby and I are done thinking about you.”
U.S. District Court Judge Larry A. Burns, who presided over the proceedings, had previously ruled that Loughner was capable of understanding the charges against him. This paved the way for a plea agreement designed to ensure that Loughner would spend the rest of his life in prison without possibility of parole. Three months ago, Loughner pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges. The agreement includes the dismissal of 30 other charges and a sentence of seven consecutive life terms, followed by 140 years in prison.
“The evidence clearly shows that he knew what he was doing, despite his mental illness,” Burns said in handing down the sentence. He called the length of the sentence justified.
And thus this sad chapter in American history comes to an end. Hopefully, Congresswoman Giffords will be back in the public square some day soon.