Loughner’s plea will spare him the death penalty and was entered after federal judge ruled that the 23-year-old college dropout is mentally competent enough to understand his charges and make decisions regarding his defense and plea. Following the shooting incident, Loughner had undergone forcible medicating treatment for schizophrenia.
During the hearing, Loughner’s federally-issued psychologist testified for an hour about how she believes Loughner is now competent. CBS News reports that Loughner listened calmly without expression — at one point, smiling and nodding when the psychologist mentioned a special bond he apparently developed with one of the prison guards.
The guilty plea deal will likely result in life in jail without parole for Loughner, and avoids a lengthy and costly trial for both sides.
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