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Jared Loughner, a college dropout, was charged with first-degree murder in the attempted assassination of Giffords and other alleged crimes stemming from the shooting. He pleaded not guilty and was found mentally unfit to stand trial.

Democrat Ron Barber, Giffords‘ former aide who also was injured in the shooting that nearly took her life, won a June 12 special election to replace her in the U.S. House of Representatives, a victory she celebrated by hugging and kissing him on his forehead.