Arizona shooter Jared Loughner has been sentenced to life in prison for the rampage in Tucson last year that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Under a plea deal reached earlier this year, Loughner will spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of parole. John Leonardo, the U.S. attorney for Arizona, said prosecutors decided not to seek capital punishment because of Loughner’s mental health.
John Leonardo: “For the family members of those who were killed and for those that survived this terrible event, it is our hope that the final resolution of this case will be a positive step towards their healing process, physically, emotionally and psychologically. It was with them in mind that we entered into this plea agreement with the defendant. We also believe that this sentence is appropriate in light of Jared Loughner’s severe mental illness. It seems likely that had Mr. Loughner not suffered from mental illness of schizophrenia, he would not have committed these horrific acts.”
At Thursday’s court hearing, Loughner faced a number of his victims, including Giffords and her former congressional aide, Ron Barber. Barber spoke to reporters after the sentencing.
Ron Barber: “And then I turned to Mr. Loughner and said, 'I hold you — hold no hatred for you, but I am very, very angry and sick at heart about what you did and the hurt you have imposed on all of us.' I told him that he must live with this burden, and he’ll never see outside of a prison again. And I said in the end, 'I hope that these long years of incarceration that you face will give you the time to think about what you have done and to seek forgiveness from those whose lives — to which whose lives you've brought so much tears and so much sadness.’”