Tucson rampage suspect in court for competency hearing

Whether Jared Loughner is mentally competent to stand trial has been argued in numerous hearings in recent months.

Story highlights

  • The suspect is charged in January shooting that killed six, wounded congresswoman
  • Loughner is diagnosed as a schizophrenic and has been on suicide watch
  • He is incarcerated at a federal prison in Springfield, Missouri

Jared Loughner, charged in the Arizona shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, faced a competency hearing Wednesday.

Loughner was at the hearing in Tucson, Arizona, to decide whether he should remain committed in Missouri or if he is competent to stand trial.

He is charged in the shooting rampage January 8 at a shopping center parking lot in Tucson that left six people dead, including a child and a federal judge. Thirteen others were wounded, including Giffords, a Democrat from Arizona.

Loughner could receive the death penalty if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty.

The issue of whether Loughner is mentally competent to stand trial has been argued in numerous hearings in recent months.

Last month, federal authorities asked for more time to try to restore his mental competency, saying he was still unable to stand trial.

He has remained incarcerated at a federal prison in Springfield, Missouri, since May, after a federal appeals court said he could be forcibly medicated, over the objections of the suspect and his lawyers.

He has been diagnosed as schizophrenic and put on suicide watch while in custody.

Loughner has also expressed "regret for the circumstances that led to his arrest," prosecutors wrote in court documents.

When asked whether he had thoughts of harming himself, he said: "I want to die. Give me the injection. Kill me now," court documents said.