Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged gunman in last year's mass shooting outside an Arizona supermarket in Tucson that killed six persons and wounded then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, pleaded guilty Tuesday to 19 charges in exchange for the government not seeking the death penalty.
Loughner faces multiple life sentences in prison under the plea deal, and he also waived his right to pursue an insanity defense.
"My name is Jared Lee Loughner," the defendant told the court when he held up his right hand under oath.
Loughner calmly told the court he understood his guilty plea. "Yes, that is correct," he said.
"I'm 23 years old," he told the court. "I attended college for five years at a community college."
Earlier Tuesday, Judge Larry Alan Burns found Loughner competent to stand trial in a federal court in Tucson.
Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, said in a statement Tuesday that he and his wife are satisfied with the agreement.
"The pain and loss caused by the events of January 8, 2011 are incalculable," Kelly said. "Avoiding a trial will allow us -- and we hope the whole Southern Arizona community -- to continue with our recovery and move forward with our lives."
Loughner was facing the possibility of a death sentence if convicted.
Well I think it is a good thing that the survivors are not forced to relive that day. And personally I don't think the death penalty is necessary in this case since I am pretty sure that Loughner is mentally ill.
Of course now that we come to the close of this terrible incident we have two fresh ones to remind us that there are just too many guns readily available to individuals who have no business having access to such weapons of destruction.
But then again, who really does deserve to have such access? Who really needs to have a weapon whose sole purpose is to end a human life at the tips of their fingers?
In my opinion very, very few people.