Records clarify Loughner's outburst
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
PHOENIX (AP) — A transcript in the case against the Tucson shooting rampage suspect clarifies what he likely said in an outburst during a hearing last month in which he was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial.
News reporters who witnessed the May 25 outburst had struggled to piece together what Jared Lee Loughner, 22, said after he lowered his head to within inches of the courtroom table and then lifted his head and began a loud and angry rant.
“Thank you for the free kill. She died in front of me. Your cheesiness,” according to the transcript, which was prepared by a court reporter who had access to audio recordings of the hearing.
The Associated Press had reported on the day of the hearing that Loughner said what sounded like, “Thank you for the freak show. She died in front of me.” Some reporters also heard him say what sounded like “You’re treasonous.”
Federal marshals then whisked out of the courtroom. He later came back in the court and was allowed to watch the hearing on closed-circuit TV from a separate room.
Loughner has been at a federal prison facility in Springfield, Mo., since May 28 where mental health experts will try to make him psychologically fit to stand trial. He will spend up to four months there.
If Loughner is later determined to be competent enough to understand the case against him and assist his lawyers, the court proceedings will resume. If he isn’t deemed competent at the end of his treatment, Loughner’s stay at the facility can be extended.
U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ruled that Loughner was mentally unfit to assist his lawyers in defending him. Mental health experts who examined Loughner had concluded he suffers from schizophrenia.
He has pleaded not guilty to 49 federal charges stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting at a meet-and-greet political event. U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others were wounded in the attack, and six people were killed, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge.
Loughner’s lawyers haven’t said whether they intend to present an insanity defense, but noted in court filings that his mental condition will likely be a central issue at trial.