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Loughner researched lethal injection before Tucson shooting, sources say
Loughner was arraigned in a federal courthouse in Phoenix on Monday. Clarke, Loughner's lead defense attorney, asked the court to enter the not-guilty plea on his behalf on three counts of attempting to kill federal employees, including Giffords. She is recovering from a gunshot wound to the head and was moved Wednesday from Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center in Houston to the hospital's Institute for Rehabilitation and Research.
Loughner also was indicted on charges of attempting to assassinate two of Giffords's aides, Ron Barber and Pam Simon, who were injured in the attack. Two other federal employees, U.S. District Judge John M. Roll and another Giffords aide, Gabe Zimmerman, were among the six people killed. Assistant U.S. Attorney Wallace H. Kleindienst indicated in court that more charges are expected.
Prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Larry Burns of California, who is presiding over the case, that they will try to have all of the federal charges filed within 45 days, including the two murder charges. Loughner is also likely to face a raft of state charges in the shootings that did not involve federal employees, including the killing of a 9-year-old girl.
The next hearing in the case is set for March 9 in Tucson.
Ultimately, legal experts said, Loughner's defense team almost certainly will not try to make the case that he was not the shooter. There were dozens of witnesses, and the rampage was caught on multiple surveillance cameras at the Safeway outside which the shootings occurred.
Rather, Clarke is expected to do her best to persuade a federal jury not to sentence Loughner to death.
"Judy Clarke is a master at finding reasons to give to a jury to convince them that it isn't the best thing to kill him," Zwerling said.