APNewsBreak: Records clarify Loughner's outburst

AP News
Posted: Jun 14, 2011 6:34 PM
APNewsBreak: Records clarify Loughner's outburst

A transcript in the case against the Tucson shooting rampage suspect clarifies what he said in an outburst during a hearing last month in which he was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial.

News reporters who witnessed the May 25 outburst had struggled to piece together what Jared Lee Loughner, 22, said after he lowered his head to within inches of the courtroom table and then lifted his head and began a loud and angry rant.

"Thank you for the free kill. She died in front of me. Your cheesiness," according to the transcript, which was prepared by a court reporter who had access to audio recordings of the hearing.

It wasn't clear who he was referring to. Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 federal charges for allegedly killing six people and wounding 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The Associated Press reported on the day of the hearing that Loughner said what sounded like, "Thank you for the freak show. She died in front of me." Some reporters also heard him say what sounded like "You're treasonous."

On the day of the hearing, the AP asked the court clerk's office for an official transcript and recording of the hearing. The transcript was not immediately provided. It was available at the court clerk's office when a reporter checked on Tuesday. The clerk's office said it doesn't release audio recordings of court hearings.

Federal marshals whisked Loughner out of the courtroom after his outburst. He later came back and was allowed to watch the hearing on closed-circuit TV from a separate room.

Loughner has been at a federal prison facility in Springfield, Mo., since May 28 where mental health experts will try to make him psychologically fit to stand trial. He will spend up to four months there.

If Loughner is later determined to be competent enough to understand the case against him and assist his lawyers, the court proceedings will resume. If he isn't deemed competent at the end of his treatment, Loughner's stay at the facility can be extended.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ruled that Loughner was mentally unfit to assist his lawyers in defending him. Mental health experts who examined Loughner concluded he suffers from schizophrenia.

Loughner's lawyers haven't said whether they intend to present an insanity defense, but noted in court filings that his mental condition will likely be a central issue at trial.