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Jared Loughner pleads guilty in Tucson shooting rampage after judge finds him mentally competent

Jared Loughner U.S. Marshals Service

(CBS/AP) TUCSON, Ariz. - Jared Lee Loughner has pleaded guilty to the January 2011 shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., that left six dead and wounded then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others.

Pictures: Arizona Shooting Suspect Jared Loughner

Loughner's plea allows him to avoid the death penalty in a mass shooting that gained worldwide attention. Among the dead were Arizona's chief federal judge and a Giffords' aide.

Federal Judge Larry A. Burns had previously found that Loughner was mentally unfit to stand trial. He ruled on Tuesday that months of forcibly medicating him to treat his schizophrenia made him competent to understand the gravity of the charges against him and assist in his own defense.

Court-appointed pyschologist Christina Pietz testified for an hour about how she believes Loughner became competent. Loughner listened calmly without expression. His arms were crossed over his stomach, lurched slightly forward and looking straight at Pietz.

At one point, he smiled and nodded when psychologist mentioned he had a special bond with one of the prison guards.

Loughner is expected to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Former Congreswoman. Gabrielle Giffords said earlier in a statement that she was satisfied with Tuesday's expected plea agreement and hoped it would allow victims of the mass shooting to move on with their lives.

Complete coverage of the Arizona shooting on CBS News

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