Jared Loughner, the 24-year-old man who went on a shooting rampage in 201 year that left six people dead and 13 others wounded, including former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is due to be sentenced Thursday.
According to the Associated Press, prosecutors say some victims will make statements before U.S. District Judge Larry Burns sentences Loughner.
The sentencing will be the first time that the shooting victims will be able to confront Loughner since his January 2011 attack at a Giffords political event outside a Tucson, Ariz., grocery store.
Reports indicate that Loughner, who has been described as a “radical” when it comes to his view on politics, pleaded guilty three months ago to 19 federal charges, under an agreement that guarantees he will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The deal calls for the dismissal of 30 other charges and a sentence of seven consecutive life terms, followed by 140 years in prison, rhe AP reported.
Depsite the fact that Loughner was diagnosed with schizophrenia and underwent forcible psychotropic drug treatments after the shooting, a judge declared that Gabriel Giffords’ shooter was competent enough to understand the changes against him.
Christina Pietz, the court-appointed psychologist who treated Loughner, had warned that although Loughner was competent to plead guilty, he remained severely mentally ill and his condition could deteriorate under the stress of a trial.
Ron Barber, a former Giffords staffer who was shot in the cheek and thigh during the attack and later won election to her seat when Giffords stepped down, plans to make a statement, spokesman Mark Kimble told the AP.
Suzi Hileman, who was shot three times while trying to save her 9-year-old neighbor, and Mavy Stoddard, whose husband died shielding her from bullets, also plan to address the court, according to the newswire.
"He has to pay the consequences for what he did, and justice will be served," Hileman told the AP.
It's unknown whether Pima County prosecutors, who have discretion on whether to seek the death penalty against Loughner, will file state charges against him. Stephanie Coronado, a spokeswoman for Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall, told reporters Wednesday that no decision had been made.
My name is Carey Vanderborg and I'm a journalist working in New York City. I love food, travel, craft beer, live music and writing about all of the above.