Web Producer: Mekita Rivas
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A federal judge sentenced Jan. 8 shooter Jared Lee Loughner to seven consecutive life sentences plus 140 years in prison. He received one life sentence for each victim killed plus one for attempted assassination of Former Rep. Gabby Giffords.
In August, Loughner pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges, including murder and the attempted assassination of former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who had been the target of the attack. He struck a plea bargain with federal prosecutors that will spare his life, but that will ensure he spends the rest of it behind bars.
The sentencing marks the first time victims come face-to-face with Loughner, who opened fire at Giffords's "Congress on Your Corner" event outside a Tuscon supermarket on Jan. 8, 2011. The shooting left six people dead and wounded Giffords and 12 others.
As the sentencing began, Loughner waived his right to address the court.
Victims Patricia Maisch, Suzi Hileman, Betty Jean Schneck, Mavy Stoddard, Pam Simon, Ron Barber and Mark Kelly -- on behalf of wife Giffords -- took to the stand, speaking directly to Loughner.
The last time she saw Loughner, Maisch was outside that supermarket holding Loughner's gun clip trying to stop him from taking more lives. Today, in the courtroom where his sentence will be handed down by a federal judge, she said: "Mental health system failed us that day."
Before he spoke, Kelly was staring directly at Loughner.
"Pay attention. Gabby's life changed. Everyday is a struggle to do what she was once so good at. She struggles to deliver each and every sentence. Gabby loved rollerblading, hiking Sabino Canyon -- or biking, as she was the night before you tried to murder her and failed," Kelly said. "She's partially blind and struggles to walk. She fights every minute of her life, more than most of us do our entire lives. You tried to create a world as dark as your own. But remember -- you failed."
Giffords stood by her husband's side but did not address Loughner directly. After Kelly spoke, the couple kissed, hugged and returned to their seats.