Gunman in Giffords shooting jailed for life


Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords stood in federal court to face her would-be assassin yesterday moments before he was sentenced to life in prison for killing six people and wounding 13 others, including Ms Giffords, last year.

Jared Loughner (24), a college dropout with a history of psychiatric disorders, received seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in prison, without the possibility of parole, under a plea deal with prosecutors that spares him the death penalty.

US District Judge Larry Burns said the life sentences he imposed – one for each of the six people who lost their lives and a seventh for the attempted assassination of Ms Giffords – represented the individuality of the victims.

“He will never have the opportunity to pick up a gun and do this again,” Judge Burns said.

Ms Giffords suffered a head wound that left her with speech difficulties, a paralysed right arm, diminished sight and a limp.

Addressing the court along with several survivors of the shooting on January 8th, 2011, Ms Giffords’s husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, told Loughner he had failed in his attempt to “extinguish the beauty of life”.

Mr Kelly also used the occasion to take a swipe at Arizona’s Republican governor, Jan Brewer, a staunch gun-rights advocate.

Ms Giffords stood by her husband’s side, looking impassively at Loughner as Mr Kelly addressed the defendant directly, saying: “You may have put a bullet through her head, but you haven’t put a dent in her commitment to make the world a better place.” – (Reuters)