U.S. Trial of Giffords Gunman Will Precede State Case

U.S. and Arizona prosecutors say the federal trial of Jared Lee Loughner, the man accused of shooting U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and of killing six bystanders including a judge, will precede the state’s case.

“Loughner will first be prosecuted on federal charges by the United States Attorney’s Office,” Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke and Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall said today in an e-mailed joint statement.

Loughner, 22, last month pleaded not guilty to federal charges he attempted to kill Giffords and two of her aides at a Jan. 8 meeting outside a Tucson supermarket. U.S. District Judge John Roll and five other people were killed and 13 were wounded before bystanders wrestled the defendant to the ground.

Loughner hasn’t been indicted yet on previously filed federal charges he murdered Roll and one of Giffords’s aides. The congresswoman is recuperating from a gunshot wound to the head at a Houston rehabilitation facility.

Loughner faces three U.S. criminal counts including attempted assassination of a member of Congress, a statute that requires the suspension of state jurisdiction over the shooting “until federal action is terminated,” according to the prosecutors’ joint statement.

The case is U.S. v. Loughner, 11-00187, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona (Phoenix).

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