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Tucson shooting survivors attend Loughner hearing

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - In a tense courtroom scene, Susan Hileman
stared intently from her wheelchair at the smiling suspect who
authorities say wounded her and 12 others and killed six people in
a Tucson shooting rampage in January.
Wednesday's hearing in Tucson was the first time that survivors
of the violence, that also left U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle
Giffords severely injured, came face-to-face with suspect Jared Lee
Loughner since the shooting.
Two others - retired Army Col. Bill Badger and Mavanell "Mavy"
Stoddard - sat on the opposite side of the courtroom as the
22-year-old Loughner, whose once-shaved head featured short, dark
hair and sideburns. Two U.S. marshals stood just feet behind
Loughner throughout the hearing.
Badger, 74, is credited with helping to subdue Loughner at the
scene after a bullet grazed the back of Badger's head.
Stoddard, 75, was shot in the leg three times. Her husband,
Dorwin, dove to the ground and covered her. He was shot in the head
and died at the scene.
Hileman, 58, was holding 9-year-old Christina Taylor-Green's
hand when the shooting erupted. The woman was shot three times;
Christina was killed.
Loughner made one brief comment, at the beginning of the
hearing. The judge asked the 22-year-old if Jared Loughner was his
name. "Yes, it is," Loughner responded as he stood behind the
defense table.
Loughner then pleaded not guilty to dozens of federal charges,
including trying to assassinate Giffords, attempting to kill two of
her aides, and murdering federal judge John Roll and Giffords
staffer Gabe Zimmerman. The hearing took place in the same
courthouse where Roll worked before he was killed in the tragedy.
Loughner also is charged with causing the deaths of four others
who weren't federal employees, causing injury and death to
participants at a "federally provided activity" and using a gun
in a crime of violence.
He likely will also face state charges stemming from the attack
outside a Tucson grocery store. Hileman, Badger and Stoddard were
among those wounded at the meet-and-greet event held by Giffords,
who is now at a Houston hospital and undergoing rigorous therapy to
recover from a gunshot wound to the head.
The suspect's father, Randy Loughner, also made his first
appearance in the gallery during his son's criminal case. Dressed
in a pressed charcoal-colored shirt and blue jeans, the father with
bushy salt-and-pepper hair sat three rows behind his son, his arms
folded.
Randy Loughner kept his eyes fixed on the floor and wall,
glancing up only a few times to see the court action. After the
hearing, he rushed out of the courtroom without acknowledging
reporters asking him for comment.
Also Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns decided search
warrants from Loughner's home should be made public. He also
scheduled a May 25 hearing to determine if Loughner is competent to
stand trial.
The search warrants contained details about the items found by
investigators at the suspect's home, including two shotguns,
ammunition and drawings of weapons.
The warrants say police also seized a printout of the U.S.
Constitution, a journal, a notebook with writing, poems, song
lyrics and a handwritten note that read: "What is government if
words don't have a meaning?"
The Arizona Republic and KPNX-TV argued there was no basis for
documents related to the search of Loughner's home to remain sealed
and that the public had a right to the records. The documents have
been sealed since Jan. 11.
Loughner's attorneys argued their client's right to a fair trial
might be harmed by the records' release. They said the documents
contain potentially inflammatory statements by a law enforcement
officer.
The judge said lawyers on both sides raised valid concerns, but
last week's indictment signaled the end of the investigation that
led to the charges. "We are past the point where there's a need
for secrecy," Burns said.
Ninety percent of the material in the search warrant records has
already been made public, the judge added.
Burns ordered that the records be unsealed but agreed to edit
out some new information about the case that was either
inflammatory or not likely to be admissible at trial.
The judge also expressed concern about Loughner's mental
competency and whether the defendant understands the court
proceedings.
Prosecutors had asked Burns to commit Loughner to a federal
facility where he could be evaluated by psychologists to determine
whether he suffers from a mental defect that makes him incompetent
to stand trial.
Loughner attorney Judy Clarke asked that the judge confront the
issue of her client's competency at a later date, arguing the
request for a mental evaluation was premature.
She said she was concerned a psychological evaluation would
interfere with her ability to work with and develop trust with
Loughner.
But prosecutor Wallace Kleindienst said federal law allows
prosecutors to request mental evaluations for defendants.
"We have a person who was irrationally obsessed with
Congresswoman Giffords," Kleindienst said, adding Loughner
distrusts the government and judges and believed the FBI and CIA
were bugging him.
It wasn't decided where the psychological exam would take place.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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