Giffords and victims face Loughner in courtPosted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Tucson gunman Jared Loughner stared at each other for several minutes straight during Loughner's sentencing Thursday.
Loughner will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing six and wounding 13 others in the Jan. 8, 2011, Tucson shootings.
Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, were some of the many victims who chose to address Loughner and the judge.
"For the first and last time, you will hear from me. So pay attention," Kelly said to Loughner. "Gabby would trade her own life to bring back any one of those you savagely murdered."
Loughner sat silently, in a brown tie and shirt, with his arms crossed, staring at Giffords as Kelly continued.
"Every day is a struggle," Kelly told Loughner. "Gabby is a people person. If she wasn't born with her name, someone surely would've given it to her. Now, she struggles to deliver each sentence.
"You tried to create for all of us a world as dark as your own, but know this and remember this, you failed," Kelly said, with his voice breaking a bit.
"Mr Loughner, you may have put a bullet through her head, but you didn't make a dent in her spirit or determination to make the world a better place," he added.
"Mr. Loughner, pay close attention," Kelly concluded. "You have decades upon decades to contemplate what you did. But know this. After this moment, here and now, Gabby and I are done thinking about you."
The lead prosecutor in Loughner's case turned to him at his sentencing and told him, "You have been given a gift, whether you realize it or not."
Prosecutor Wally Kleindienst was speaking of the victims' desire to not seek the death penalty in the case. Loughner, again, had no reaction.
"I'm satisfied this young man will never be set loose on the public again," said Patricia Maisch in court.
Others, like Kelly, also chose to direct their remarks directly toward Loughner.
"While her work in Congress was disrupted, you did not take away her determination, courage, and compassion. You did not diminish her one bit. Now the whole world knows of her great civility and leadership," echoed Rep. Ron Barber.
"This is an awful situation for each of us and it all revolves around you," said Suzi Hileman, who was shot several times by Loughner. "We brought wives, husbands, friends, and children that morning. You brought a gun. You turned a civics lesson into a nightmare."
"I will walk out of this courtroom and into the rest of my life and not think of you again," Hileman concluded.
Several had messages for Loughner's parents, who sat in the front row behind their son.
"Mr. and Mrs. Loughner, please know that I and my family hold no animosity toward you. We can appreciate how devastating the acts of your son must be to you," said Barber, who joined most of the others in lamenting Loughner's lack of mental health treatment leading up to the shooting.
Loughner was sentenced to seven consecutive life terms, plus 140 years.