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Ariz. shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner in court Wednesday for competency hearing

Loughner_Jared Police Photo
Jared Lee Loughner
U.S. Marshals Service

(CBS/AP) TUCSON, Ariz. - Jared Lee Loughner, the man accused of wounding Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in a deadly shooting rampage, arrived in a Tucson court Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns will decide at the hearing whether Loughner is now mentally fit for trial.

Experts have concluded that the 23-year-old suffers from schizophrenia. Loughner has been at the Springfield, Mo., prison facility the past four months after Burns found him mentally unfit for trial at a May 25 hearing in Tucson.

Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting that killed six and injured 13, including Giffords.

Dr. Christina Pietz, who has been treating Loughner at the prison facility, testified at the hearing.

Pietz says Loughner, who is being forcibly medicated, remains on suicide watch but is no longer having auditory hallucinations. She says she has no reason to think he won't keep getting better.

Pietz added Loughner "understands that he has murdered people" and "talks about how remorseful he is."

During the trial, police say a suspicious vehicle in the area of the nearby federal bankruptcy courthouse prompted them to close some streets and ask some people to evacuate in downtown Tucson.

Complete Coverage of the Arizona shooting massacre on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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