Jared Loughner Officially Wants to Change His Plea if He's Found Competent
The rumored change-of-plea for Jared Loughner -- the lone suspect in last year's shooting that killed six people and injured 13, including then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords -- is officially scheduled for tomorrow.
U.S. District Judge Larry Burns signed the order today, indicating Loughner wants to change his plea from not guilty as part of a plea agreement.
"If the Court finds the defendant competent, his counsel has requested a follow-on change of plea hearing," the order says. "Accordingly, assuming the Court finds the defendant competent, it will also consider whether to accept the defendant's proffered pleas at the August 7 hearing."
That hearing is taking place at 11 a.m. tomorrow in Tucson.
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Loughner faces 49 federal charges related to the January 8, 2011, shooting, and was previously found incompetent to stand trial.
However, Loughner was ordered to be treated at a psychiatric facility and be forcibly treated with medication in an effort to "restore his competency" to stand trial.
If he's found competent tomorrow -- as the judge will have to be convinced Loughner understands the charges -- then he'll be able to change his plea.
Instead of the sentencing extremes that could have resulted from a trial -- a jury buying Loughner's insanity, or the prosecution's likely intention of a death sentence -- the going thought is that Loughner's plea will land him in prison for the rest of his life.
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