A federal grand jury in Tucson on Friday returned a 49-count superseding indictment against Jared Lee Loughner in the killing of a federal judge and a congressional staff member, as well as for causing the deaths of four others during an attempt to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords at her “Congress on Your Corner” event in January.
Mr. Loughner, 22, is charged in the death of U.S. District Judge John M. Roll and Gabriel M. Zimmerman, a staff member and director of community outreach for Mrs. Giffords, according to the new indictment. He also faces charges in the deaths of Dorothy J. Morris, Phyllis C. Schneck, Dorwan C. Stoddard and 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, referred to in the indictment only as C-T G. They were shot while waiting to see Mrs. Giffords at the neighborhood event.
Prosecutors indicated that the death penalty could apply in the case.
“This was an attack on Congresswoman Giffords, her constituents, and her staff,” said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke in Arizona. “We will seek justice for the federal officials, Judge Roll and Gabriel M. Zimmerman, and for Dorothy J. Morris, Phyllis C. Schneck, Dorwan C. Stoddard. These final four Arizonans’ lives were extinguished while exercising one of the most precious rights of American citizens, the right to meet freely and openly with their Member of Congress.”
“The deceased are not the only ones whose rights are being defended,” Mr. Burke said, noting that those citizens who were peaceably assembled to speak to their member of Congress are also named victims in the indictment. He said the indictment involves potential death-penalty charges, and Justice Department rules require his office to pursue a deliberate and thorough process.
“That process is ongoing, and we will continue to work diligently to see that justice is done,” he said.
The indictment also includes allegations brought forward in a previous indictment in January that Mr. Loughner attempted to assassinate Mrs. Giffords, who was shot in the head and is undergoing rehabilitation in Houston, and attempted to murder two federal employees who worked for her, District Director Ronald S. Barber and Community Outreach Coordinator Pamela K. Simon, who were both shot multiple times and are recovering.
Mr. Loughner will be arraigned on the new charges at a hearing Wednesday in Tucson before U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns. Mr. Loughner has been held in federal custody since Jan. 8. The Pima County Attorney’s Office also intends to pursue state charges in the case.