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Thursday
Sep292011

Judge: Alleged Tucson Shooter Can Be Mentally Fit to Stand Trial

Pima County Sheriff's Department(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- After getting feedback from doctors, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that alleged Tucson shooter Jared Lee Loughner can be made mentally competent enough to stand trial with further treatment.

Loughner, who has been in a prison mental health facility since May, is accused of killing six people and wounding 13 others -- including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords -- in Tucson on Jan. 8.  If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

A psychologist who has visited Loughner nearly every day since March said on Wednesday that Loughner has clearly responded well to the forced medication -- especially over the last two months -- and believes Loughner will be restored to competency in the coming months.

The doctor said Loughner's thoughts are more organized, his memory has improved and that he is taking better care of himself.  But, the doctor added, Loughner is still very despressed.  A suicide note was found on his bed recently, and he remains on suicide watch.

As a result, Judge Larry Burns ordered further evaluations and updates on Loughner.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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