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Tucson Shooting Victims Satisfied With Loughner Plea Deal

Tucson Shooting Victims Satisfied With Loughner Plea Deal
Jared Lee Loughner has agreed to spend the rest of his life in prison, accepting that he went on a deadly shooting rampage at a Tucson political gathering.

Loughner Plea Agreement
Jared Lee Loughner Plea Agreement
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The young man accused of the Tucson shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords faces seven life sentences in prison without the possibility of parole.

Nineteen months after the killings, Jared Lee Loughner appeared in court to take responsibility for his crimes. He told the judge he was sorry for the killings, particularly for the death of 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green.


Under the terms of the plea deal, Loughner will also serve an additional 140 years. There will be no chance for parole. 

U.S. Attorney John Leonardo said a longer attempt for the death penalty might have been compromised by the uncertainty of Loughner’s continued mental state. And he said closure was important for the victims and for the city.

"In the hope that providing certainty as to the resolution of this case at this early stage would avoid any delay or disruption in the ongoing healing process for the victim, the Tucson community and the nation," he said.

Loughner pleaded guilty to six counts of murder and 13 other crimes related to the attack on Jan. 8, 2011. Congressman Ron Barber succeeded Giffords after she was forced to resign. He said the decision in court was a chance to move forward. 

"I truly believe that justice was done today," Barber said.


Those survivors who chose to speak Tuesday at the courthouse said they welcomed the negotiation. 

Suzi Hileman was shot as she tried to protect 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green that day. 

"Before I was shot I’m sure I had an opinion, I know I had an opinion on the death penalty. I reworked it, I thought about it, this is a result with which I am very happy," she said.

Pam Simon was one of Giffords’ staffers. She’s among those victims who are now pushing for stricter gun laws.

"What hands should firearms go into? And we can all agree that the seriously mentally ill and those with criminal records should not be holding a gun," Simon said.

Loughner will be sentenced in November. So it’s over for now. As for Hileman, she was asked as she walked away, what the bigger message or meaning is, what she’s learned since that fateful day.

"We can’t just retreat. We can’t just go backwards. That’s letting the evil win. And I can’t have that happen," Hileman said. "I can’t be part of that. I have the energy of a 9-year-old with me because I owe it to her.”

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