UK & World News
Giffords Gunman Set To Avoid Death Penalty
The man accused of a mass shooting that left a US congresswoman badly injured and six other people dead has pleaded guilty.
Jared Lee Loughner's plea allows him to avoid the death penalty.
The attack gained worldwide attention in January 2011 because his intended target was Democrat Gabrielle Giffords.
Among the dead were Arizona's chief federal judge and a Giffords aide. Federal Judge Larry A. Burns had found that Loughner was mentally unfit to stand trial.
He has now ruled that months of forcibly medicating him to treat his schizophrenia made him competent to understand the gravity of the charges against him and assist in his own defence. Loughner is expected to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
In a joint statement with her astronaut husband Mark Kelly, Ms Giffords said: "The pain and loss caused by the events of January 8, 2011, are incalculable.
"Avoiding a trial will allow us - and we hope the whole Southern Arizona community - to continue with our recovery."