Jared Lee Loughner changed his plea to guilty on 19 different charges yesterday, admitting to killing six people and wounding 13 others outside a Tucson grocery store last year. The plea means that Loughner will avoid the death penalty, but he now faces life in prison.
Pam Simon was serving as Congresswoman Giffords' community outreach director at the time of the shooting and she was shot twice by Loughner. Simon was also in the courtroom yesterday when Loughner pleaded guilty and she joins Starting Point this morning to explain how she reacted to his guilty plea.
"My reaction was one of this is going to be closure, not only for myself but for many of the other survivors and families of the victims," Simon explains. "My only thought for [Loughner] now is just remorse that something couldn't have been done earlier, that he couldn't have had the medication he need earlier and this tragedy would not have happened."
Simon also stresses that she forgives Loughner, saying "It's time to forgive. It's time to move on, and it's time to find ways that we can both help people with the type of illness that Jared Lee Loughner had and also ways that we can find some common sense ways to examine who is going to be able to have a firearm."
The man suspected of killing six people and wounding thirteen others during a shooting spree in Tuscon, Arizona will appear before a federal judge today.
Attorneys for Jared Lee Loughner are expected to enter a guilty plea on at least one of the felony counts against him if a federal judge determines Loughner is competent to stand trial.
The shooting happened last January during a meet-and-greet with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was among those wounded.
Among those killed was 76-year-old Dorwan Stoddard, who took a bullet to protect his wife, Mavy, who was also shot, but survived.
Mavy joins Starting Point this morning to explain how she is reacting to the news that Loughner is expected to change his plea.
"I would be very glad if that's what he says but I'll believe it when he says it," Stoddard says.
Stoddard goes on to explain that she doesn't care if Loughner receives the death penalty, saying "I think life in prison would be a lot worse and [...] if his mind is kept under sedation he may learn about the Lord and that's important to me."
When asked what she would say to Loughner if he was sitting in front of her, Stoddard responds, "I don't hate you and I do forgive you."