Despite her disabilities, former Representative Gabrielle Giffords confronted the man who tried to kill her more than a year ago and killed six others. Along with her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, they attended the sentencing of Jared Lee Loughner. The judge ordered him to serve seven consecutive life sentences plust 140 years in a federal prision for the shooting that occurred in January 2011.
Kelly said that his wife’s “life has been forever changed. Plans she had for our family and her career have been immeasurably altered. Every day is a continuous struggle to do those things she once was so good at.”
Giffords was attending a meet and greet with members of her district when Loughner tried to kill her. He pled guilty to the charges and will spend the rest of his life in jail without ever getting out. The plea agreement means that he will not be sentenced to death.
The survivors of the attack took turns addressing Loughner and the court while the gunman sat emotionless. Mavanell Stoddard was shot three times by Loughner while her husband died in her arms stated “You took away my life, my love and my reason for living.”
Susan Hileman, another victim, said “We’ve been told about your demons, about the illness that skewed your thinking. Your parents, your schools, your community, they all failed you. It’s all true. It’s not enough. You pointed a weapon and shot me three times. And now I walked out of this courtroom and into the rest of my life and I won’t think of you again.”
Some of the victims welcomed the plea deal so that they could move on. Giffords did not speak at the hearing. Loughner chose not to as well.