Jared Lee Loughner officially pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges that he opened fire on a crowd outside an Arizona supermarket, killing six and wounding 13 more, including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Attorney General Eric Holder said the government decided against seeking the death penalty, instead opting for life without the chance of parole.
“It is my hope that this decision will allow the Tucson community, and the nation, to continue the healing process free of what would likely be extended trial and pre-trial proceedings that would not have a certain outcome. The prosecutors and agents assigned to this matter have done an outstanding job and have ensured that justice has been done,” Holder said in a statement. “In making the determination not to seek the death penalty, I took into consideration the views of the victims and survivor families, the recommendations of the prosecutors assigned to the case, and the applicable law.”
Loughner, 23, is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 15 in district court in Tuscon. In January 2011, Loughner went to an event featuring Giffords, who was speaking to constituents outside a Safeway grocery store in Tuscon. According to the charges, Loughner went into the crowd with a semi-automatic pistol, killing six people, injuring many and shooting Giffords in the head.
Newly appointed Arizona U.S. Attorney John Leonardo said Loughner’s history of mental illness played a role in the decision to choose life without parole rather than the death penalty, calling it a “just and appropriate resolution of this case.”