Tucson, Ariz. – A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the man accused of wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a deadly shooting rampage can eventually be made mentally fit to stand trial and should stay at a prison hospital for four more months.
U.S. District Judge Larry Burns made the decision as Jared Lee Loughner sat nearby, listening intently and quietly. The 23-year-old’s demeanor was in stark contrast to his last court appearance in May, when an angry outburst got him kicked out of the courtroom.
Experts have concluded Loughner suffers from schizophrenia, and prosecutors contend he can be made competent with more treatment.
Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson that killed six and injured 13, including Giffords.
Earlier Wednesday, a psychologist testified that Loughner has improved to where he understands that he killed people and feels remorse about it, and can be made competent to stand trial within eight months.
Loughner is still delusional but has made strides during the past four months at the Springfield, Mo., facility, Dr. Christina Pietz said.
Military trial at Guantanamo approved
Miami – A senior Pentagon official Wednesday approved the first death-penalty war-crimes prosecution of the Obama administration – the trial of a Saudi millionaire accused of masterminding al-Qaida’s suicide bombing of a U.S. Navy warship in a Yemen port a decade ago.
Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, 46, also gets the first full Guantanamo military commission trial of the Obama era at a time when the White House is still committed to closing the prison camps. On Wednesday, the Pentagon held 171 captives at its base in southeast Cuba, just four of them convicted war criminals.
Two suicide bombers drove a bomb-laden skiff into the USS Cole in October 2000, killing 17 American sailors and crippling the $1.1 billion warship.
Retired Navy Vice Adm. Bruce MacDonald, who oversees the war court, announced the charges on a new interactive website meant to launch a new era of transparency at the Defense Department division that at times has had a penchant for secrecy.