Jared Lee Loughner, 23, of Tucson, Ariz., pleaded guilty today in federal district court to charges stemming from the January 8, 2011 shooting outside a supermarket that killed six people and wounded 13 others. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Loughner will be sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole.
“It is my hope that this decision will allow the Tucson community, and the nation, to continue the healing process free of what would likely be extended trial and pre-trial proceedings that would not have a certain outcome. The prosecutors and agents assigned to this matter have done an outstanding job and have ensured that justice has been done,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “In making the determination not to seek the death penalty, I took into consideration the views of the victims and survivor families, the recommendations of the prosecutors assigned to the case, and the applicable law.”
“Given the defendant’s history of significant mental illness, this plea agreement, which requires the defendant to spend the remainder of his natural life in prison, with no possibility of parole, is a just and appropriate resolution of this case,” said U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo. “I hope that today’s resolution of this case will help the victims, their families, and the entire Tucson community take another step forward in the process of healing and recovering from this sad and tragic event.”
“Today, we remember the victims and their families who tragically lost their lives on January 8, 2011, as well as those in the Tucson community who were greatly affected by this senseless tragedy,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge James L. Turgal Jr., Phoenix Division. “I would like to thank the Pima County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office who we worked side-by-side with on every aspect of this joint investigation. I would also like to thank all of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners for their tireless efforts in this case. The partnerships that we have throughout Arizona enabled the FBI to have a coordinated response which resulted in a comprehensive and thorough investigation—all which has led up to today’s plea agreement.”
According to the plea agreement, on Jan. 8, 2011, Loughner showed up at Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ “Congress on Your Corner” event outside the Safeway grocery store in Tucson armed with a loaded semi-automatic pistol and carrying three additional magazines containing 60 rounds of ammunition with the intent of killing Congresswoman Giffords and others attending her community event.
Shortly after arriving at the event that Saturday morning, Loughner shot Congresswoman Giffords in the head, and then shot several other people who were in attendance. As a result of the shooting, six individuals were killed and 13 people, including Congresswoman Giffords were injured, some seriously.
Through a plea agreement, Loughner pleaded guilty to 19 counts of the superseding indictment handed down March 3, 2011, consisting of the following crimes:
· The attempted assassination of U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle D. Giffords;
· The murders of federal employees U.S. District Court Chief Judge John M. Roll and Congressional Aide Gabriel M. Zimmerman;
· The attempted murders of federal employees and Congressional Aides Ronald S. Barber and Pamela K. Simon;
· Causing the deaths of Christina-Taylor Green, Dorothy J. Morris, Phyllis C. Schneck, and Dorwan C. Stoddard, all of whom were participants at an activity provided by the United States;
· Injuring through the use of a Glock pistol Bill D. Badger, Kenneth W. Dorushka, James E. Fuller, Randy W. Gardner, Susan A. Hileman, George S. Morris, Mary C. Reed, Mavanell Stoddard, James L. Tucker, and Kenneth L. Veeder, Sr., all of whom were participants at an activity provided by the United States;
Loughner also admitted that in committing these offenses, he knowingly created a grave risk of death to Carol A. Dorushka, Robert C. Gawlick, Daniel Hernandez, Mark S. Kimble, Patricia R. Maisch, Emma E. McMahon, Owen A. McMahon, Thomas J. McMahon, Sara M. Rajca, Faith M. Salzgeber, Roger D. Salzgeber, Doris Tucker and Alexander J. Villec.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Loughner will be sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences, followed by 140 years in prison, as follows:
Loughner will be sentenced to a term of life in prison for each of the following crimes:
· The attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle D. Giffords;
· The murders of federal employees U.S. District Court Chief Judge John M. Roll and Congressional Aide Gabriel M. Zimmerman; and
· Causing the deaths of Christina-Taylor Green, Dorothy J. Morris, Phyllis C. Shneck, and Dorwan C. Stoddard, all of whom were participants at an activity provided by the United States.
Loughner will also be sentenced to the maximum term of 20 years in prison for each of the attempted murders of Congressional Aides Ronald S. Barber and Pamela K. Simon.
Finally, Loughner will be sentenced to the maximum term of 10 years in prison for injuring through the use of a Glock pistol each of the following:
· Bill D. Badger;
· Kenneth W. Dorushka;
· James E. Fuller;
· Randy W. Gardner;
· Susan A. Hileman;
· George S. Morris;
· Mary C. Reed;
· Mavanell Stoddard;
· James L. Tucker; and
· Kenneth L. Veeder, Sr.
Convictions for the attempted assassination of a member of Congress, the murder of a federal employee, and causing the death of a participant in a federally-provided activity each carry a maximum sentence of life in prison or death in the case of murder), a $250,000 fine or both. A conviction for the attempted murder of a federal employee carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. A conviction for injuring a participant in a federally-provided activity carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. In determining an actual sentence, U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.
Sentencing is set before Judge Burns on November 15, 2012, at 10:00 am in Tucson.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the FBI and the Pima County, Ariz., Sheriff’s Office. The prosecution is being handled by Wallace H. Kleindenst and Mary Sue Feldmeier, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Tucson, with the assistance of C.J. Williams, who served as trial attorney with the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Christina M. Cabanillas, Appellate Chief, and Bruce Ferg, Assistant U.S. Attorney (Appellate), District of Arizona, Tucson.