Loughner understood charges

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PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Marana Mountain View grad Jared Lee Loughner, 22, made his first court appearance in Phoenix Monday.

Loughner said he understood the proceedings and the charges against him.

Loughner, smiling, smirking and bald in his mug-shot, was not smiling in the courtroom.

Shackled and handcuffed, wearing a tan prison jumpsuit, Loughner listened as the judge read 5 federal felony counts against him. The murders of congressional aide Gabe Zimmerman and federal Judge john roll. Plus, the attempted assassination of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and the attempted murders of two of her staffers.

During the 15-minute court appearance, Loughner was followed closely by a marshal who stood just a couple feet behind him at all times.

Loughner's court-appointed attorney, Judy Clarke, rubbed his back-- seeming to comfort him at times.

Former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton says she's defended people like the Unabomber and Tim McVeigh

"In this country under the constitution, individuals deserve good defense," said Charlton.  "This lawyer has experience defending tragic high profile cases."

The judge, and all federal judges in Arizona have now recused themselves from this case, since they knew or at least worked with murder victim Judge John Roll.

Loughner is scheduled back in court in 2 weeks. It is still to be determined whether the feds will seek death penalty.