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Ariz. shooting spree suspect incompetent for trial

May 25, 2011 4:30:00 PM - thestate.com
The man accused of wounding U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killing six is mentally incompetent to stand trial, a judge ruled Wednesday after U.S. Marshals dragged the man out of the courtroom because of an angry outburst.

As survivors of the deadly January attack looked on, Jared Lee Loughner lowered his head, raised it and said what sounded like "Thank you for the freak show. She died in front of me." His words were loud but mumbled, and it wasn't clear who he was talking about. He wore a khaki prison suit and sported bushy, reddish sideburns.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns' decision means the 22-year-old will be sent to a federal facility for up to four months, to see if he can improve to the point where he understands the case against him.

The ruling came after two mental health professionals said they concluded Loughner suffers from schizophrenia and is mentally unfit for trial.

Loughner spent five weeks in March and April at a federal facility in Springfield, Mo., where he was examined by the professionals, psychologist Christina Pietz and psychiatrist Matthew Carroll. The two were asked to determine whether Loughner understands the consequences of the case against him.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)