Loughner gets life in prison for Tucson shooting rampage - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

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Loughner gets life in prison for Tucson shooting rampage

Jared Lee Loughner Jared Lee Loughner
Sketch at Loughner's sentencing in Tucson federal court. Sketch at Loughner's sentencing in Tucson federal court.
U.S. District Judge Larry Burns U.S. District Judge Larry Burns
Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly at Loughner's sentencing. Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly at Loughner's sentencing.
Ron Barber speaking at Loughner's sentencing Ron Barber speaking at Loughner's sentencing
TUCSON, AZ (CBS5/AP) -

The man who pleaded guilty to a deadly Arizona shooting rampage that wounded former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has been sentenced to life in prison.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns sentenced 24-year-old Jared Lee Loughner on Thursday for the January 2011 attack that left six people dead and Giffords and others wounded.

Loughner pleaded guilty to federal charges under an agreement that guarantees he will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. The plea deal kept him from a federal death sentence.

The hearing marked the first time victims - including Giffords - could confront Loughner in court. Her husband spoke on her behalf, saying Loughner changed his wife's life forever but couldn't dent her spirit.

Jared Loughner showed little response to the sentence, which he'd agreed to in a deal that kept him from a federal death sentence. He watched people and appeared to be paying attention. He wore dress pants and a dark brown shirt with a tie.

Loughner's mother sobbed during the hearing. U.S. marshals escorted the parents from the courtroom after the sentencing.

The judge recommended Loughner stay in the Springfield prison where he can get mental help.

Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall said at an afternoon news conference that Arizona prosecutors will not file state charges against Loughner.

"The public is going to be safe from Jared Loughner," LaWall said.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, John Leonardo, said Loughner received the appropriate sentence.

"Today's sentence insures that Mr. Loughner will spend the rest of his life in prison and will never be in a position to harm others again. It is our hope that the conclusion of this case will finally bring some level of closure to the victims of this tragic event, to their families and to the community at large."

FBI Special Agent in Charge James L. Turgal Jr., Phoenix Division, spoke of the spirit of cooperation among all law enforcement agencies involved. 

"These partnerships enabled the FBI to have a coordinated response which resulted in a comprehensive and thorough investigation - all which has led up to today's sentencing," Turgal said.

Congressman Ron Barber, who served as district director for Giffords, was among the wounded. At the news briefing, Barber said his family has suffered greatly and their lives have forever changed. 

"While Giffords' work was disrupted, it did not take away her determination, passion or desire to serve," Barber said." She was not diminished by the shots one bit."

Another survivor, Pam Simon, who was a Giffords' staff member, was shot twice.

"Each of us face a choice every day of how we will carry the weight of this terrible heartache," Simon said. "I will never forget the horror of that day." 

Loughner admitted during his change of plea hearing on Aug. 7 that on the day of the shooting, Jan. 8, 2011, he appeared at Congresswoman Giffords' Congress on Your Corner event outside a Safeway grocery market in Tucson armed with a loaded semi-automatic pistol, with 93 rounds of ammunition, with the intent to murder Giffords and citizens attending her community event.  

Loughner also admitted that he shot Giffords in the head, and then fired his pistol at those at the event, killing six and wounding 12 other citizens, some seriously, including three Giffords' Tucson Office aides. Loughner fired a total of 33 bullets before being subdued and restrained.

Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates. You can also follow @drossiCBS5, @elizabetherwin, @nicolecrites and @morganloew for team coverage.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation) contributed to this report.

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