Alleged Arizona shooter indicted on 49 counts

Two of Jared Lee Loughner's mug shots were originally withheld from media release. (Source: RNN
Two of Jared Lee Loughner's mug shots were originally withheld from media release. (Source: RNN

TUCSON (RNN) - A federal grand jury has issued a 49-count indictment against Jared Lee Loughner, the accused shooter of 19 people at a Tucson, AZ, political event.

Included in the indictment are charges related to the attempted assassination of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, including the alleged murder of a federal judge, a Giffords assistant and four other individuals.

"This was an attack on Congresswoman Giffords, her constituents, and her staff," said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke. "We will seek justice for the federal officials."

On Jan. 8, two federal employees, U.S. District Judge Jon M. Roll and Gabe Zimmerman, Giffords' director of community outreach, were killed when Loughner allegedly opened fire, shooting Giffords in the head.

Giffords' 9-year-old constituent, Christina Taylor Green, also was killed, along with Dorothy J. Morris, Phyllis Schneck and Dorwan Stoddard.

"These final four Arizonans' lives were extinguished while exercising one of the most precious rights of American citizens: the right to meet freely and openly with their Member of Congress," Burke said.

Friday's indictment includes previous charges brought against Loughner in January.

Additional counts include the use, carry brandish and discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence; causing death through use of a firearm; and injuring participants at a federally provided activity.

In total, 19 people were shot at Giffords' Congress on Your Corner event at a Safeway grocery store.

"The deceased are not the only ones being defended," Burke said. "Those citizens who were peaceably assembled to speak to their member of Congress are also named victims in this indictment."

Loughner has remained in federal custody since his arrest Jan. 8.

He will be arraigned on the new charges Wednesday, when he will appear before U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns in Tucson.

Fourteen of the counts before him are punishable by death. All 49 counts could carry a $250,000 fine, which could total $12.25 million.

Burke noted in his statement to the press that Burns is not bound by U.S. sentencing guidelines  should Loughner be convicted.

"This indictment involves potential death-penalty charges, and department rules require us to pursue a deliberate and thorough process," Burke said. "That process is ongoing, and we will continue to work diligently to see that justice."

The Pima County Attorney's has indicated it will pursue state charges against Loughner.

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