Jared Loughner, the suspect in the Arizona shooting that injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, should get four more months of psychiatric treatment, a federal judge has ordered.
Loughner had been found suffering from schizophrenia and was deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial for the Jan. 8 shooting rampage in Tucson that killed six people including a U.S. judge.
Loughner has been under involuntary medication with anti-psychotic drugs after the diagnosis and is being held in a federal prison hospital in Springfield, Missouri.
In July, a federal appeals court had refused to stop prison officials from forcibly drugging Loughner, throwing out a defense appeal that said forcing Loughner to take the drugs violates his rights.
According to prosecutors, continued administration of psychotropic drugs could restore Loughner's mental health and make him competent to stand trial.
Earlier in May, federal judge Larry A. Burns had ruled that the 23-year-old shooter was mentally unfit to stand trial. The ruling came after staff psychologist at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners and a forensic psychiatrist certified that the Arizona killer was not mentally stable.
On Wednesday, Judge Burns said he wanted to witness “measurable progress, more than I’ve seen here today” in Loughner's health and gave prison psychologists an extension to make him competent enough to face trial.
The judge underscored the expert testimony that Loughner's health would deteriorate if he were left without medication and said he had “good cause” to believe that forced medication should continue.
Meanwhile, Dr. Christina Pietz, a Bureau of Prisons psychologist, said Loughner was remorseful that he killed people, Bloomberg reported. He also knows that Representative Giffords was alive. He has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges.