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Arizona shooting suspect to undergo psychiatric evaluation

Federal judge orders test to evaluate if Jared Lee Loughner is competent to stand trial for charges including attempted assassination of US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Photo of Jared Lee Loughner, 22, released by US Marshal's Service on 22 February.
Photo of Jared Lee Loughner, 22, released by US Marshal's Service on 22 February.
Image: AP Photo/U.S. Marshal's Office, File

A US JUDGE HAS ORDERED the man accused of murder and attempted murder over a gun attack which seriously injured US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to undergo psychiatric evaluation.

Six people were killed and 13, including Giffords, were injured in the shooting outside a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona, on 8 January 2011.

Jared Lee Loughner, 22, has pleaded not guilty to dozens of federal charges arising from that attack.

US District Judge Larry Burns ruled yesterday that Loughner would undergo a mental evaluation which will be videotaped and supplied to both the defence and prosecution teams. Burns said the scope of that examination should be limited to whether the accused is competent to stand trial, not whether or not he was sane at the time of the shooting.

Giffords was shot in the head at close range in the attack, but has been making steady progress in her recovery and is currently undergoing physical therapy in Houston, Texas. Doctors have said they expect her to make a full recovery. Her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, is currently preparing to lead the Endeavour’s final space mission next month.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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