Jared Loughner Back in Arizona For Wednesday Court Hearing

Tucson shooting suspect Jared Loughner is back in Arizona today after spending the past several months in a federal prison in Missouri where he's undergoing psychiatric treatment to hopefully make him mentally fit to stand trial.

Loughner has a court hearing in Tucson tomorrow, where U.S. District Judge Larry Burns will determine whether Loughner's fit to stand trial and whether to extend his treatment at the prison in Missouri by another eight months.

Burns recently ruled that Loughner has to be present for the hearing, despite his lawyers' arguing against it, noting that traveling could be disruptive to Loughner's mental health.

Loughner, the Associated Press reports, wanted to attend the hearing so he could see his parents.

Last time Loughner appeared before the court, when he was found incompetent to stand trial in May, he
was forced to watch much of the hearing on a TV screen in another room following an outburst in the courtroom.

In the middle of the hearing, with his head down and face inches from the table in front of him, Loughner seemed to say "thank you for the freak show. She died in front of me."

Court records later revealed that he actually said "thank you for the free kill. She died in front of me, your cheesiness," Loughner blurted, referring to the judge as "your cheesiness."

He was removed from the courtroom.

When he was brought back in, Loughner was given the option of remaining in the courtroom, or watching the proceedings on a TV screen from another room.

"I want to watch the TV screen," Loughner responded.

Loughner has since been forcibly medicated by prison officials after he was deemed a threat to himself and others while locked up, and prosecutors have asked that his stay at the Missouri prison be extended by eight months so he can continue treatment with the hope that he'll one day be fit for trial.

Defense attorneys argue that prosecutors have failed to prove that there's a chance Loughner's mental condition can improve enough for him to be competent to stand trial.

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James King
Contact: James King