Life term for Gabrielle Giffords gunman

The man who pleaded guilty to the deadly Arizona shooting rampage that wounded former US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been sentenced to life in prison.

US district judge Larry Burns yesterday sentenced 24-year-old Jared Lee Loughner for the January 2011 attack that left six people dead and Ms Giffords and several others wounded.

Loughner pleaded guilty to federal charges under an agreement that guarantees he will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The Tucson hearing marked the first time victims – including Ms Giffords, a Democrat – could confront Loughner in court.

Ms Giffords’ husband, former astronaut Mark E Kelly, spoke on her behalf, saying Loughner changed his wife’s life forever, but could not dent her spirit.

Ms Giffords hugged her husband after the life term was ­revealed.

Loughner, who was wearing dress trousers and a dark brown shirt with a tie, showed little response to the sentence, which he had agreed to in a deal that kept him from the death penalty.

Loughner’s mother sobbed during the hearing. US marshalls escorted the parents from the courtroom after the sentencing.

Earlier, Loughner admitted going to a “Congress On Your Corner” event armed with a loaded Glock 19 pistol and 60 ­additional rounds of ammunition with plans to kill Ms Giffords, who was seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party.

Loughner shot her through the head at close range. Six people were killed, including US District Judge John Roll and nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green.

Loughner also admitted shooting the others with the intent to kill.


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