Jared Loughner Sentenced Today to Seven Life Terms

Fernanda Santos of the New York Times reports that Jared Loughner was sentenced today in federal court to 7 life terms in the shooting incident that left 6 people dead and 12 wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Her husband, Mark Kelly, confronted him during the sentencing.

“As a packed courtroom fell silent, Mr. Kelly, with Ms. Giffords at his side, told Mr. Loughner, 24, that he had failed in his effort to create a world as dark as the one he inhabited.

“You may have put a bullet through her head, but you haven’t put a dent on her spirit and her commitment to make the world a better place,” said Mr. Kelly about Ms. Giffords, who was gravely wounded and whose arm was in a sling on Thursday.

Ms. Giffords, who resigned from Congress in January 2012, and who has difficulty speaking as a result of her injury, “struggles to walk, her right arm is paralyzed, she’s partially blind,” Mr. Kelly said.

Ms. Giffords did not speak at the hearing, at which victims described the impact of Mr. Loughner’s January 2011 shooting spree, but looked directly at Mr. Loughner as her husband read from a statement.

“After today, after this moment, Gabby and I are done thinking about you,” Mr. Kelly concluded. With that, he and Ms. Giffords walked away.”

63 Responses to Jared Loughner Sentenced Today to Seven Life Terms

  1. Malisha says:

    Regarding the interviews of people right after, as opposed to weeks after, the killing of Trayvon Martin: very good point. Think about how you would feel getting interviewed by cops, say, on March 2, 2012 when you heard that some person who complained, at the HOA meeting held the day before, had been “escorted out” of the HOA meeting by Police Chief Bill Lee “and a member of the City Council” for having complained about the lack of police response to prior complaints made about George Zimmerman patrolling the neighborhood with a loaded gun! I would automatically think, “The HOA has become the Gestapo. I do know that my house has lost value because of the economic crash, but there are actually worse things in this world than losing your house. I must escape this neighborhood for sure, probably I must escape Florida, and perhaps I must even escape America, before the day comes when the HOA can arrest you for speaking ill of their undercover brown-shirts, and you will disappear, and nobody will be able to ask questions about your disappearance because you will be “escorted out” by the Chief of Police and the City Council.” Then I would look up into the pasty, beefy, self-satisfied, dangerous face of the officer at my door, and I would say, “Oh George Zimmerman? I didn’t know him, really. Seems like a nice enough guy.” And as soon as they left I’d start packing and I’d get my house listed on the market through some out-of-town realtor, and be prepared to unload it at a significant loss.

    Yeah, like that. :mrgreen:

  2. Two sides to a story says:

    LOL – kinda makes you wonder what they cooked, eh?

    Especially interesting from the standpoint that there’s little or nothing known about the witnesses named. There may be little or nothing to help the prosecution, though. Or do you think they held something juicy back as long as they could?

    • Xena says:

      There may be little or nothing to help the prosecution, though. Or do you think they held something juicy back as long as they could?

      If you had a neighbor with a gang tattoo, who looked like a skinhead, who had just shot and killed an unarmed teenager and not been arrested, what would you tell investigators? The fact that the cops did not arrest him might make you suspicious — were they questioning to see how much you know to shut you up, or questioning you in sincerity because they believe it wasn’t self-defense?

      I imagine that many of the witnesses will now flesh-out their statements since GZ was arrested AFTER they first talked with investigators and that GPS ankle bracelet will trace him to their front door.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        GZ looked more like a jock to me on the night of the shootings. As did TM.

        It will be interesting to see what neighbors had to say about GZ, for sure. Perhaps it will be the same mix as previous statements – some favorable, some not.

        Doesn’t seem likely that GZ would show up to talk to anyone with a GPS bracelet, though, especially since he fled his home before his arrest. Then, on the other hand, this case is so bizarre, so maybe he has!

        • Xena says:

          Doesn’t seem likely that GZ would show up to talk to anyone with a GPS bracelet, though, especially since he fled his home before his arrest.

          When the accused is arrested, witnesses have more security in telling everything without fear of retribution. But there is more. They had cops coming to their door telling them what they saw and heard. THAT INSTILLS a POWERFUL message of FEAR into witnesses.

          The media is all around. Witnesses say it sounded like a kid screaming. Bill Lee has a press conference and says it was GZ screaming. Now witnesses, who are common, everyday folks, are embarrassed because the Chief of Police says they are wrong.

          The creep with the CC is still free — not arrested. Witnesses have no idea where he is. They know that if he got away with killing an unarmed kid, he could get away with killing them too.

    • Xena says:

      LOL – kinda makes you wonder what they cooked, eh?

      On a budget of 40 cents a week, a very small box of generic spaghetti — on sale.

      • aussie says:

        LOL Xena

        you know he DID have a wallet on him, but the cops let him take it home. It may have actually had money in it. (Remember my first theory re MO being at the bank then visiting GZ on shopping night?)

        But, does GZ look like he eats healthy home cooked food? maybe he’d stock up on a week’s supply of ready meals, frozen equivalents of fast food, and heaps of pop tarts. Microwave macaroni cheese. Frozen pizza. Gallon tubs of store-brand icecream. 24-packs of soda.

        (I look at my supermarket specials catalog every week and it is 5 or 6 pages in before it gets to anything I’d identify as “food”, but I see a lot of carts in the checkout queue containing nothing but stuff from the first 5 pages).

      • Fed-up taxpayer says:

        So did the SPD photocopy GZ’s CC permit, which he like all CC permitholders had to have on him at all times he was carrying? Why was his wallet not inventoried?

      • aussie says:

        Yes they at least VIEWED his CCW permit, that is in a statement by one of the first cops, and that is where they mentioned it as being in his wallet.

        Why inventory the wallet? what relevance does it have to a self-defence case? he wasn’t an unidentified body, he was an “almost one of us” about to be sent home free, wasn’t he? there was no suggestion his wallet might contain drugs or money stolen from the victim or anything like that.

    • Xena says:

      Thanks for sharing that Rachael. I look forward to the release of that information. So, GZ’s neighbors were also interviewed. I wonder if any said anything about the aromatic smells coming from the Zimmerman’s every Sunday night as they cooked for the week? 🙂

  3. Two sides to a story says:

    The criminal psychiatric facilities where someone like Loughner will spend their days are generally dreary.

    It’s more economical to jail or house a person for life than to execute them. And it’s more likely that at least some of these incarcerated people learn and grow from the experience. The incarceration experience may “purify” their negative karma and bring them into balance.

    It’s true that some mentally ill criminals are unable to repent or to grasp the enormity of what they did – I suppose Charlie Manson is a good example of that.

  4. Malisha says:

    I’m against the death penalty in every single case. In fact, I have to laugh because there’s a federal habeas corpus case I read that was sent back for a new hearing because the judge had advised the prosecutor to systematically remove Jews from the jury (unconstitutionally) because “Those Jews won’t vote for the death penalty; they didn’t even want to fry [sic] Eichmann.” Actually, most Jews did, at the time, agree that Eichmann should get the death penalty but there was still a sizeable number who protested against it on principle alone.

    I have worked on a lot of campaigns to get clemency for defendants on death row. The whole thing is not right from 100 different standpoints, not the least of which is that in general, it is handed out to those defendants who could not afford counsel as good as Mark O’Mara, and who had to settle for whatever defense they could get.

    • Jun says:

      I think they should just ask the jury guilty or not and let the judge decide the penalty

      You are not alone, as JFK was against the death penalty as well

      • cielo62 says:

        It will be a few more decades but I believe the US will eventually ban the death penalty, like many enlightened countries. But I want something more than a human waste ground. Sick and twisted people should be kept from society. But what should be done with them?

        Sent from my iPod

      • Jun says:

        Until we have a better solution, prison is the most humane as it keeps them from hurting other people in society.

    • thejbmission says:

      Malisha,
      I think it’s wonderful that you work to get clemency for defendants on death row! I’m still not totally against DP though but lately I’m getting there. There’s far too many exonerations as of late and that’s just DP cases. What about armed robbery, etc. etc.?
      When my x-husband served on a jury, he was the hold out in a case of a spree of armed robberies. The defendant was being charged with 3 armed robberies, it was his first offense. He said he voted guilty for the first 2 but held out for the 3rd because the cashier described the robber as being short and stocky. The defendant was tall and lanky so he couldn’t convict him on that one. He said that the other jurors didn’t really care that they just wanted to go home but my x-hub was his usual stubborn self and wouldn’t change his vote. After the trial, the defense attorney came up to him and shook his hand.
      What disturbed me about this trial was that the State knew this and charged this guy with this crime anyway. Why?
      These are the type of shenanigans that make you go Hmmm..so Bravo for you.

  5. Two sides to a story says:

    The death penalty is little more than state-sanctioned revenge, in my opinion.

    I believe our beloved Prof Leatherman is against it. Many defense attorneys take such cases because they’re against the death penalty.

    • cielo62 says:

      I’m afraid this is where I stick out like a sore thumb because I do support the death penalty. Society has a responsibility to keep its citizens safe. But keeping people warehoused is much more inhumane than a swift death. At heart I believe we reincarnate which is why the death penalty should be viewed as sending someone on to try again. Again I know I am in the minority. IMO those machete wielding child killers deserved the death penalty. Souls twisted so far to do that cannot be untwisted. Anyway. Loughner was clearly deranged. MHMRA has been slashed just about everywhere. Where can families or individuals go to get mental health intervention? Unless you have fantastic insurance or are Romney-wealthy, you can’t get much mental health care for serious conditions.

      Sent from my iPod

      • Vicky says:

        Cielo, I work at a community mental health center, and we see individuals without regard for their ability to pay. 38% of the people we serve have no health insurance or financial resources to pay for services.
        IMO, it is not a lack of available quality mental health services, the problem is that too many people with mental illness remain undiagnosed or fear seeking services due to the stigma associated with many diagnosis. Additionally, individuals who live with varying forms of psychosis (and other mental illnesses) are often noncompliant with their meds for various reasons including negative side effects or because the medication works so well the individual “rationalizes” that he/she is well and stops taking the meds, which of course leads to a return of symptoms.
        It is extremely unlikely that antipsychotic medications are not available due to the cost of the meds. CMHCs and emergency rooms have ample supples/coupons on hand for individuals experiencing a psychotic break.
        Someone with the level of illness Loughner presents with would qualify him for a severely and persistently mentally ill diagnosis, which in turn would qualify him for SSI and Medicaid.
        I am guessing that his family was well aware of his level of mental illness, but due to his age, were unable to do anything about his unwillingness to take medication. However, the law does not allow society to force medication on an individual who is not a threat to self or others, and it is not until that threat presents itself that the court is able to intervene.
        Even if his family had attempted to have him declared incompetent to make medical decisions for himself, a competent attorney representing him in a hearing would have seen to it that he was currently stabilized on meds, and their petition would have been denied, because at the hearing a psychologist would have been unable to testify that at that moment in time he was not able to make rational decisions regarding his mental health.
        This is indeed a sad situation, with no simple solution. Loughner’s failure to take his medication most likely contributed to this tragedy. Unfortunately, he had the right not to take those medications, even though taking them might have saved lives.
        Question is, do we want to make medical restraint legal when a patient has been diagnosed with a serious mental illness?

        • cielo62 says:

          Vicky~  verily you have opened up a can of worms of issues I have long pondered. The law, or lack of it, makes restraining an adult nearly impossible even if that person is severely mentally ill. Yes, societal stigma is a factor although it IS getting better. My only “experience” with severe mental illness and its results are the stories that get reported locally. In nearly each case, money was a huge factor for the family per the family. After all, THEY get the blame when a family member gets violent. None blamed the legal system. In fact, many refuse to involve the legal system because cops shoot and kill the mentally ill in far too many cases, again because lack of money equals lack of training.   Loughner is clearly mentally ill. GZ not so much. He (GZ) was stable enough to have jobs, even if he didn’t stay there long. He was stable enough to go to school although he never finished. And he was stable enough to get married. I don’t think that GZ will get even an iota of sympathy that maybe Loughner could get. Free will and severe mental illness do NOT go together well.

          ________________________________

      • Vicky says:

        Cielo, indeed, the stigma associated is improving, but there is still a long way to go. Petitioning the court for guardianship of an adult (a process that does not include LE) is an expensive undertaking and usually ends with a ruling in favor of the individual in question.
        IMO, an individual with SPMI is at tremendous risk of contact with LE if not properly treated. It really is a huge can of worms, and you are correct, funding for community based treatment has been severely impacted by budget cuts. Most of those cuts have impacted treatment and case management more than the availability of medication. My experience has been that once an individual has been qualified as SPMI, the cost of services, supports and medication management are covered by Medicaid following a disability determination.
        The population most negatively impacted financially are individuals who don’t qualify for disability, are under insured/uninsured, have high deductibles and copays, etc.
        However, in my state at least, CMHCs are the safety net for individuals with limited financial resources. We do a lot of grant writing and fundraising to help offset the costs of providing services on a slide fee scale or at no cost. Last year, my CMHC wrote off more than a million dollars in “non collectables” or waived fees.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        If you study Buddhist doctrine, you’ll find that it is thought people are far more likely to move on to better things by living as long as possible. Dispatching someone quickly for a crime is likely to send them on to another life with the same problems and to only repeat the same actions.

        It is thought to be ludicrous to kill someone for killing someone as we all have such short lifespans in the measure of cosmic time – we are all dead men walking. There are many Buddhist teaching stories about real live people who have murdered, then repented and gone on to achieve enlightenment in the same lifetime. One such man, Milarepa, who lived approximately in the 10th century – ?? – is a national hero in Tibet and a great teacher in the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

        If there wasn’t such great resistance to socialized medicine in this country, people with problems would be far more likely to get the mental health care they need.

        • cielo62 says:

          I did not know that about Budhism. But it seems to me that the “hope” they can be redeemed is slim and it isn’t a bet I’d take with a bookie, even with odds. When crafting social policy, you have to go with the greatest good for the greatest number. “Hoping” someone changes their life in prison is a long shot, and thus not a good social policy. Warehousing people in conditions even the SPCA wouldn’t allow for animals, is cruel. I feel the most irredeemable should be removed; justly, painlessly and without hatred. But removed.

          ________________________________

          • You have to work through your karma here on this plane of existence where you create the imbalance that needs balancing.

          • Patricia says:

            @Cielo

            Cielo, I talked it over with Beaureagard. He’s a cat of few words.

            He thought it over for a millesecond, said “Shrink ’em. Down to about mouse size. Then … call me.”

          • cielo62 says:

            Patricia~ so GOOD to see you’re back! Na’mer and I missed you!   True, reincarnating as a mouse and doing penance as a catmeal WOULD do alot to relieve heavy burdens of karma, but… not my call to make. Sorry Beauregard!

            ________________________________

      • Two sides to a story says:

        PS – Vicky – thanks so much for extending your comments and expertise.

        Cielo62 – “Free will and severe mental illness do NOT go together well.” That’s for sure. I also think that many people really don’t understand the confluence of the two issues. So many people with mental / emotional issues seem normal in many respects, therefore evil / depraved when committing crimes, when that may not be the case at all. The act may be evil / depraved, but the person may not be at all.

        I’ve long thought that GZ is likely not as evil as many consider him to be, but rather a clumsy and suffering individual who made some very bad choices.

    • Patricia says:

      @Two Sides,

      I am shamed by your comment and recognize my hard-heartedness. I am primitive in that sense. Anyone who takes pleasure in murder, mentally ill or not (and surely you have to be crazy to take such pleasure) escapes my love.

      Ahhh – but his parents. How desolate for them! One cannot judge who is the more needy of our love and prayers – the victims, or the killer’s family. Perhaps the latter, because they are so very alone in their grief.

      Only a higher power can bring peace in such cases.
      I should ask for peace for them.

      Thank you for making me think about this, Two Sides.
      Life is, indeed, complex.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        I knew you weren’t hard-hearted, just passionate about the great suffering of the victims and their families.

        There’s just so much suffering in normal day-to-day life even without such heart-wrenching crimes. Sometimes it’s a wonder any of us survive without cracking.

        Peace.

  6. cielo62 says:

    >^..^< how this person escaped the death penalty is beyond me.

    • Malisha says:

      I think the prosecutor took the death penalty off the table pretty early on. I think they knew the guy was out of his mind.

    • rachael says:

      Because he was very mentally ill. That doesn’t make it okay or right, but when someone earlier said something about hoping the victims will be able to be forgiving someday, I think this shows they already are. It isn’t right to kill someone for being mentally ill. That does not make what they did okay, but IMO, we do have to be civilized about it.

      • cielo62 says:

        You are right. No one should be killed for being mentally ill. And yet HPD does it all the time here in Houston. It goes right back to our societal denial of the existence of severely mentally ill people who cannot afford mental health care. The cops here “cure” by killing them. It angers me each and every time.

        Sent from my iPod

    • Xena says:

      “Loughner entered a guilty plea in August in exchange for avoiding the federal death penalty.”

      “Loughner could have faced the state death penalty if Arizona prosecutors decided to try him, but the Pima County Attorney’s Office said it would not file state charges. County Attorney Barbara LaWall says she reached out to family members, victims and survivors and decided against filing charges and seeking the death penalty.”

      http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/national_world&id=8878257

  7. Xena says:

    I’m happy that the victims didn’t have to wait longer and endure sitting through trial in order to see justice.

    This reminds me of a skit done by Richard Pryor about a man receiving “triple life” sentences.

    Warning: Strong language.

    tp://youtu.be/VMnv3dN8u6I&rel=0

  8. rachael says:

    Powerful speech, powerful delivery.

  9. Two sides to a story says:

    PS – I’m a little disappointed in Mark Giffords. Of course Loughner did a terrible thing, but he wasn’t exactly dealing with a full deck. I hope Giffords will find it in his heart to be more forgiving sometime soon.

    • Jun says:

      No matter how crazy a person is, it is difficult to forgive or not be pissed at someone for killing 6 people and wounding 12 people

      • Two sides to a story says:

        Of course. Such a dreadfully sad case. I lived in Tucson for many years and so it touched me deeply.

        I think our lax guns laws have so much to do with this case. I don’t understand the collective denial about this.

      • racerrodig says:

        10 – 4 on that !! How about those around him. From time to time we all encounter someone who is not all there. They need to be watched and talked with. Strange behavior needs to be stated to parents, wives, husbands, kids and right on down the line. When this behavior is ignored, this is far to often the result.
        Our godson was diagnosed with ADD, ADHD and quite a few other mental issues. Friends of ours always say he was voted “most likely to end up on the roof with an AK47” Since his parents never kept him in check, they decided to cut him loose on society. Eventually he shot himself. He got involved with a bike gang and life went downhill from there. He needed help and never got it.

    • Patricia says:

      @TwoSides –

      Loughner not only did a terrible thing, he knew it was a terrible thing and he specifically set out to do that terrible thing and he went ahead, deliberately, to do it. Then he did it.

      He knew who Gabby Giffords was, sought her out, shot her, and shot and killed and injured others.

      Because he wanted to.

      The Giffords have given up so much of their lives – have had so much of their lives torn away from them.

      Let us not ask more of the Giffords.
      If there is to be forgiveness in their hearts, it will be a mystery and a miracle and will arrive in its own time. Not ours.

      We, who have not suffered their pain, have no right to ask, or hope, or expect them to root around in the depths of their pain, and come up with “forgiveness.”

      Just send them your love. Please.

      • rachael says:

        Another powerful speech. Amen.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        Just send all concerned your love, Patricia. Everyone in that case is suffering terribly, including the perpatrator and his family.

      • Xena says:

        When people suffer permanent scars or are disabled by the actions of others, it’s impossible to forget and thus, hard to forgive.

      • Malisha says:

        Actually, I think forgiveness is irrelevant in a case like this. I agree with Patricia about Loughner and I also agree with the verdicts. If I chose to kill a person and oops uhoh I took out a bunch of other people with her I would also expect to spend the rest of my life in prison or even worse. And I wouldn’t (I hope) expect forgiveness. But for the victims and the victims’ families, what is forgiveness for them? and the more important question: What’s that to me? (1) I guess it’s none of my business. Do I feel sorry for the family of the killer as well as the families of the killed? Now that you mention it, yes, so long as they didn’t jump into the public image and scream about the victims as did the Zimmerman tribe (may their names be erased from human memory, amen). But I don’t care about that very much. I would vigorously oppose punishing the family along with the killer, obviously, but if they feel punished by the punishment of their relative, it’s collateral damage and I am not terribly worried about it because I’d concentrate on preventing the ACTUAL DAMAGE which was, in effect, that violence that the killer perpetrated.
        (2) I would never presume to tell victims how to react or respond to anything. In fact, that was one of the tenets of my own personal “religion” when I raised a kid. IF YOU HURT SOMEONE you do not get to tell them how to react or respond. If you hit someone and they cry, you don’t get to tell them to stop crying. If you think “it wasn’t that bad” and they’re crying too much, that’s YOUR PROBLEM, not theirs; you never had to hit them in the first place. So if you choose to hurt somebody, deal widdit.
        (3) If forgiveness makes anybody feel better, let them do it. To me, it has no independent value as an activity.

      • rachael says:

        Good post Malisha.

      • racerrodig says:

        Well said.

  10. Two sides to a story says:

    How very sad. For the lack of the right medication . . .

    • rachael says:

      Is that what the problem was? I guess I missed that.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        Yes, he was not able to stand trial until stabilized with meds. Loughner was out of it when the shooting took place, had been for several years.

      • rachael says:

        Oh. I’m sorry. I thought you said “For the lack of the right medication,” as if they found a medication that “cured” him or would have made it not happen.

        Yes, they have him on forced psychiatric medications that restored him to competency – The issue of competency to stand trial is entirely separate from the problem of criminal responsibility and involves different legal tests and certainly does not mean that he is well now – or ever will be.

    • Xena says:

      That questions how someone who is or needs psycho meds allowed to purchase assault guns in America?

      • thejbmission says:

        If there is any change to gun laws in America, I hope that mental illness, The mental illness that concerns me the most is schizophrenia. Maybe my law, doctors would have add names of their schizophrenic patients to a database? I’m sure this would have to be worked out with HIPPA laws but IMO something has to be done. IMO, Schizophrenia is a dangerous mental illness.

        • Xena says:

          Maybe my law, doctors would have add names of their schizophrenic patients to a database?

          In Illinois, any person who is a mental health patient has their social security number reported to State Police. This is limited to services rendered by, or a patient being admitted into a mental health center and not private physicians. When they apply for a FOID card to own a gun, their application will be denied. If I’m not mistaken, its legislated under Illinois law.

          What I’m not sure about is how military recruiters seem to know that info also. Recruits reporting for their physical might be required to sign a form that when processed, returns results for mental health treatment.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Oh, sorry Rachael. I didn’t quite get my prose right!

      Probably, at Loughner’s age, it was hard to pin him down and keep him on medication, if he was being treated at all. I feel for his family.

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