Giffords to face Tucson gunman for the first time

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

TUCSON, Ariz. -- For the first time since the January 8, 2011, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will come face-to-face with the man who shot her.

Jared Loughner will formally receive his life sentence, reached through a plea deal, from a federal judge in Tucson Thursday.

Loughner opened fire at one of Giffords' "Congress on Your Corner" events outside a Tucson Safeway, killing six people and injuring 13 others.

At his sentencing, victims and victims' family members will get the opportunity to address the court, and Loughner.

Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, is expected to speak in court on her behalf.

Patricia Maisch, who grabbed Loughner's gun clip as he went to reload, will also speak in court.

"I just feel like it's an important part of the process, for the judge and the shooter to know how I feel and how it affected me," said Maisch.

Under the terms of the plea deal, Loughner will be spared the death penalty.  Most victims support the deal, since it spares them from enduring what could be a lengthy trial.

 "As long as he's never a harm to society or get out of institution, I'm satisfied," said Maisch.

"I would have been a key witness and to go through six months of trial would have been disturbing and hard on me," said Col. Bill Badger, who tackled Loughner and ended the shooting. Badger suffered a stroke over the summer.  

"I want to go see a closure come to this tragic event," said Badger/ "The victims have come together like a family."

Loughner's prison psychologist says he is chronically mentally ill, but able to understand his crime.

Raw video: Jared Loughner arrives at courthouse in Tucson