Arizona judge rules Tucson gunman not competent to stand trial in rampage

13:43, May 26, 2011      

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An Arizona judge ruled on Wednesday that Tucson gunman Jared Loughner is not competent to stand trial in rampage, after the suspect was taken out of a Phoenix courtroom due to an emotional outburst, local media reported.

Loughner, 22, was accused of killing six people and wounding 12 others, including U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, at a gathering outside a grocery store in Tucson on Jan. 8. U.S. District Judge John Roll and Gabe Zimmerman, a Giffords aide, were among the victims killed in the shooting, which presumably targeted Giffords.

During Wednesday's hearing, Judge Larry A. Burns ruled the suspect was unfit to stand trial after a staff psychologist and a forensic psychiatrist agreed that at this time he was unfit mentally to stand trial due to symptoms of schizophrenia.

Burns stopped federal death-penalty proceedings against the alleged shooter, and sent him back to a federal medical center in Springfield, Mo., for further evaluation.

Loughner could receive up to life in prison if convicted of shooting Giffords, and up to 20 years if convicted in the shootings of two other congressional aides.

A hearing was scheduled by Burns for Sept. 21 to see if the suspect is fit enough to stand trial.

Source: Xinhua
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