Tucson suspect's stay at Mo. prison extended

Jared Loughner U.S. Marshals Service

SAN DIEGO - A federal judge ruled Monday that the suspect in the Tucson shooting that wounded Gabrielle Giffords will spend four more months at a federal prison facility where officials are forcibly medicating him.

U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns ruled after the chief federal psychologist of Jared Lee Loughner informed the court that she believes he is still not competent to stand trial.

Burns said he was extending the stay because the psychologist said Loughner is making progress at the facility in Springfield, Mo.

Loughner, 23, has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges stemming from the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting in Tucson that killed six people and injured then-Congresswoman Giffords and 12 others.

Giffords resigned from Congress last month and continues to recover from a gunshot wound to the head. (Click the player at left for a report on Gifford's emotional good-bye)

Loughner's federal psychologist, Dr. Christina Pietz, believes he "still lacks an adequate understanding of the nature and consequences of the charges against him."

Loughner has demonstrated bizarre behavior since his arrest. He was removed from a May 25 court hearing when he lowered his head to within inches of the courtroom table then lifted his head and began a loud and angry rant.

Mental health experts have determined Loughner suffers from schizophrenia and are trying to make him fit to stand trial. Loughner has been at the Missouri facility since May 28, and his attorneys have vigorously fought the government's efforts to medicate him with psychotropic drugs.

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