Jared Lee Loughner, accused of killing six people and wounding 13 others including Rep. Gabrielle D. Giffords (D-Ariz.) in a shooting in Tucson on Jan. 8, has been indicted on 49 federal charges, the most serious of which is punishable by death, Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke announced Friday.
The indictment returned on Thursday accuses Loughner, 22, of killing U.S. District Judge John M. Roll and Gabriel M. Zimmerman, an aide to the Congresswoman, who was meeting with constituents at a shopping center when the shooting erupted. The indictment goes beyond the scope of the original charges to include citizens who were taking part in a “federally provided activity.”
Loughner is to be arraigned on the charges on Wednesday. The most serious charges, murder of a federal employee, can result in the death penalty, or life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. State prosecutors are also expected to bring charges. The defendant has repeatedly exhibited bizarre behavior, leading to speculation that his lawyers will offer an insanity defense.
The Congresswoman was shot in the head and is undergoing rehabilitation in Houston.