Arizona shooter Loughner facing life behind bars

By Jennifer Lipman, August 8, 2012

The killer of six people in a gun attack in Tuscon, Arizona, last year, has pleaded guilty.

Jared Loughner's rampage in January 2011 also left 13 people with injuries and effectively ended the career of Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. She was shot in the head but has since made a recovery deemed extraordinary in medical terms.

This week Loughner was found competent to stand trial and he has now pleaded guilty to 19 charges, including the attempted assassination of a member of Congress,. But under the terms of a deal he will not face the death penalty or a protracted trial; rather he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

He will not be officially sentenced until November but under the terms of the plea bargain is, without leave to apply for parole or appeal.

Ms Giffords, in a statement with her husband, praised the courts for finding a way to avoid a public court case.

"The pain and loss caused by the events of Jan 8 are incalculable," she said. "Avoiding a trial will allow us - and we hope the whole Southern Arizona community - to continue with our recovery."

Last updated: 4:12pm, August 8 2012