UK & World News
Tucson Gunman To Be Declared Fit For Trial
A man who allegedly critically injured US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords could be sent to prison for life under a plea deal.
A court-appointed psychiatrist will testify on Tuesday that Jared Lee Loughner is competent to enter a plea in a shooting rampage that killed six people and injured 13 in Tucson, Arizona.
A source close to the case said a status conference had already been scheduled for Tuesday in Tucson, where the shooting took place in January last year.
The plan, which is contingent on the judge in the case allowing Loughner to enter a plea, would see him admit the murders and attempted murders.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday that Loughner was set to change his plea. He originally pleaded not guilty.
Bill Solomon, a spokesman for the US attorney's office, said he could not comment on Loughner's case.
Loughner, 23, had pleaded not guilty to 49 federal charges stemming from the shooting on January 9, 2011, outside a Tucson supermarket where Giffords was holding a meet-and-greet.
Authorities said he shot Giffords and then opened fire on the crowd, before he was subdued by bystanders.
Giffords was shot in the head and subsequently left Congress to devote time to her rehabilitation.
US District Judge Larry Burns had previously ruled that Loughner was not psychologically fit to stand trial.
Experts have concluded that he suffers from schizophrenia, and prison officials in Missouri - where he has been held - have forcibly medicated him with psychotropic drugs.
His lawyers have fought government efforts to medicate him. A federal appeals court at one stage halted the forced medication, but resumed it once mental health experts concluded his condition was deteriorating.