Judge rules Giffords accused is unfit for trial
Published 26/05/2011 | 05:00
The man accused of gunning down US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killing six is mentally incompetent to stand trial, a judge ruled yesterday, after he was dragged 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.
Judge Larry Burns' decision means the 21-year-old will be sent to a federal facility for up to four months in a bid to restore his competency.
If he isn't deemed competent at the end of his treatment, his stay at the facility can be extended.
The ruling came after Mr Loughner spent five weeks at a federal facility in Missouri, where he was examined by two mental health professionals.