federal judge ruled Wednesday that the suspect in the Tucson shooting rampage that wounded U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is mentally incompetent to stand trial, putting the criminal case against him on hold indefinitely.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns means Jared Lee Loughner, 21, will be sent to a federal facility for up to four months in a bid to restore his competency.
Loughner, dressed in a khaki prison suit and sporting bushy, reddish sideburns, was removed from the hearing after an outburst and had to watch part of the proceeding on a TV screen in another room. Burns had Loughner escorted from the courtroom after Loughner lowered his head and said what sounded like: “Thank you for the freak show. She died in front of me.” His head was inches from the table in front of him.
His trial is now on hold for four months, during which time he will be evaluated. He has been remanded to the custody of the US attorney general.