January 27, 2011 in Nation/World

Shooting suspect did research, report says

Paper: Review found searches on assassination, punishments
Associated Press
Giffords leaves intensive care

 HOUSTON – Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Wednesday left intensive care for the first time since she was shot in the head in Arizona more than two weeks ago, the latest big step in the long road to recovery.

 With her progress moving at “lightning speed,” doctors had the Arizona lawmaker moved to TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital, where she immediately began therapy that could last several months.

 Giffords, 40, had been in intensive care since her arrival Friday from Tucson, where she was shot Jan. 8 while meeting with constituents.

TUCSON, Ariz. – The man accused in the deadly Tucson shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded 13 others researched lethal injections, solitary confinement and political assassinations in the days before the attack, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

A source close to the investigation into 22-year-old Jared Loughner told the Washington Post that a review of his computers turned up the Internet searches. Officials with the FBI and Justice Department contacted by the Associated Press declined to comment Wednesday on the Post’s story.

Loughner was indicted last week on federal charges of trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and trying to kill two of her aides – Ron Barber and Pam Simon – in the Jan. 8 shooting outside a Tucson supermarket during a meet-and-greet event with the three-term Democratic congresswoman’s constituents.

An earlier criminal complaint also had charged Loughner with murder in the deaths of Giffords’ aide Gabe Zimmerman, 30, and U.S. District Judge John Roll, 63.

Loughner pleaded not guilty Monday during a hearing in Phoenix and remains in federal custody.

Law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation told the Post that Loughner surfed the Internet on his computer in the weeks and days before the shooting rampage.

The newspaper said Loughner pulled up several Web sites about lethal injections and solitary confinement in prison and also viewed Internet sites about political assassins.

The Post said prosecutors hope to use the information they have found on Loughner’s computer, along with notes seized in his home, to indicate that he wasn’t insane and knew right from wrong.

Prosecutors said Loughner also is likely to face state charges in the shootings of the other nonfederal employees who were killed and injured. His next court hearing is March 9.

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