Jared Loughner, now a convicted murderer of six people, infamous for his attempted murder of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, has pleaded guilty in order to avoid the death penalty.
He opened fire at a political gathering and killed six, injuring thirteen others, including the Congresswoman. When asked if he understood the charges and what would be needed for a conviction, he replied, “Yes, I understand.”
Despite being diagnosed with schizophrenia and forcibly medicated, the court’s psychologist testified for over an hour about his current competency. A federal judge had previously found that Loughner was unfit to stand trial.
The former Congresswoman said, in a joint statement with her husband, that ”The pain and loss caused by the events of Jan. 8, 2011, are incalculable,” and, “Avoiding a trial will allow us — and we hope the whole Southern Arizona community — to continue with our recovery.”
This is certainly beneficial to Arizona taxpayers, because it avoids the costly processes associated with the trial and subsequent appeals. It is actually cheaper to keep an inmate in prison for life without the possibility of parole (that is the case here) than it is to keep a prisoner on death row.
Hopefully this conviction and subsequent sentencing gives the victims–and families of the victims, especially those who are no longer among us–some satisfaction or sense of justice.
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