Loughner incompetent to stand trial

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter
By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter
By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter
By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter
By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A federal district judge ruled Jared Loughner incompetent to stand trial in the shooting deaths of six people, including a federal district judge, and the wounding of 13 others, including a Member of Congress.

It means Loughner will undergo about four months of intense therapy in an effort to reach a competent level.  He'll be examined by teams of psychiatrists again at that point to make any determination.

The ruling came after a dramatic turn in the courtroom.

About 40 minutes into a hearing to determine his competency to stand trial, accused shooter Jared Loughner worked to help the court decide.

Looking scruffy and unkempt, without his trademark smirk, Loughner rested his head on the table for many minutes rubbing his temples. Then he shouted, "Thank you for the freak show."

A deputy U.S. marshal grabbed hold of Loughner, who then yelled, "She died right in front of me," as he was taken away.

The incident happened about 11:40 Wednesday morning in the federal district courthouse in Tucson.

The judge called a recess to allow Loughner's defense attorneys to meet with him outside the courtroom.

After a brief recess, and with Loughner watching the rest of the hearing from a television in the next room, the judge went on to read his ruling, the defendant is incompetent to stand trial.


The ruling was not unexpected since neither side opted to put each others psychiatrists on the stand to question them.

After a month of interviews and observations, a psychiatrist and psychologist found Loughner schizophrenic, noting, he's confused, delusional, with psychotic and irrational complaints about his own lawyers.

He's unable to understand the charges or assist in his own defense and therefore unable to stand trial right now.

The two doctors and the judge all believe he's not faking it. And that's the impression many in the courtroom got from his outburst.

As the judge read his ruling, some victims and family got emotional and even had to leave the courtroom. But at least one shooting victim believes the ruling is right.

"You don't have to be a professional psychologist to know the boy is disturbed," said shooting victim Eric Fuller.

Fuller was shot in the leg on January 8, and he says he would be fine knowing Loughner is hospitalized indefinitely, as long as he's incarcerated.

But others demand more, and the prosecution's goal is still to put Loughner on trial and convict him of the crimes.

"We're quite confident that we can get back in the trial at some point for the individual with these crimes," said U.S. attorney Dennis Burke.

They'll find out if that's possible in four months, when the same hearing is held again.

Loughner will be treated, most likely at the same facility in Springfield Missouri where his competency was examined. The judge set the next hearing for September 21.