Giffords will soon face decision about future

WASHINGTON (AP) - The signals are strong. One year after being shot in the head, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is on a mission to return to the job she so clearly loved.

Her husband and people near the three-term congresswoman say she is highly motivated to recover from her injuries and get back to work in Washington, potentially using her inspirational story as a way to mend political differences in the nation's capital.

She faces a May deadline to get on the November ballot, meaning she has a few months to decide.

Giffords has arrived in Tucson, Ariz., to begin commemorating the one-year anniversary of the shooting that killed six people and left her and 12 others wounded. She'll take part in a candlelight vigil Sunday to mark the anniversary of the shooting, which occurred during a Jan. 8 meet-and-greet.

Her future will depend on a recovery that has progressed in remarkable fashion over the past year as she is now able to walk and talk.

Potential Republican challengers are awaiting her decision before committing to the race.

The mentally ill man charged in the Tucson shooting rampage isn't expected to go to trial in 2012 as he continues to be forcibly medicated to make him psychologically fit to stand trial.

Mike Black, a former federal defender now in private practice, says he doesn't think there would be a trial until 2013, even if Jared Lee Loughner is quickly declared ready for trial.

The case was put on hold when psychologists diagnosed Loughner with schizophrenia and a judge ruled the 23-year-old wasn't fit to stand trial in the shooting that occurred a year ago Sunday.

Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges in the shooting that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)