Jared Loughner's YouTube videos suggest mental issues, U.S. says

Newspaper readers across the country on Jan. 11, 2011, were greeted by the mug shot of Jared Lee Loughner, alleged gunman in Saturday's Tucson shooting that killed six and wounded 14, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
By Edvard Pettersson
(c) 2011 Bloomberg News
Tuesday, March 8, 2011; 4:34 PM

March 8 (Bloomberg) -- Online video clips posted by Jared Lee Loughner suggest that the suspect in the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Arizona, that left six people dead and 13 wounded may have "mental issues," prosecutors said.

Federal prosecutors in Arizona yesterday asked the judge in charge of the case for permission to move Loughner to a medical prison facility where he can be examined to see if he's competent to stand trial.

Loughner's MySpace and YouTube postings include a seven- minute video clip of a hooded and masked person, believed to be the suspect, wearing garbage bags on his lower body and burning an American flag, prosecutors said in yesterday's federal court filing. The MySpace account was taken down after the shooting while the YouTube postings are still online, according to the filing.

"The defendant's postings, all of which were made within the last five months, provide ┬┐reasonable cause' that defendant ┬┐may' have mental issues for this court to order a psychiatric or psychological examination of the defendant" to determine his competency, the prosecutors said.

U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns said in an order filed today that he will discuss the request at a hearing tomorrow in Tucson. Burns said he will also hear arguments on a request by Loughner's lawyers to bar reports about him compiled by prison psychologists from being provided to the FBI.

Judy Clarke, Loughner's lead lawyer, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

Loughner, 22, was charged March 4 in a superseding 49-count grand jury indictment with the murder of U.S. District Judge John M. Roll and Gabriel M. Zimmerman, an aide to U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, as well as the slayings of four other Arizona residents who attended Giffords's community meeting outside a Tucson supermarket.

He pleaded not guilty to charges in an earlier indictment that he tried to assassinate Giffords and kill two of her other aides. Loughner will be arraigned on the new charges at tomorrow's hearing.

Burns, a San Diego-based judge appointed to the case after federal judges in Arizona recused themselves, said in today's order he also will discuss a trial date at tomorrow's hearing. In an earlier order the judge had said he wanted the trial to start no later than Sept. 20. Loughner's lawyers have said they couldn't be ready for trial before January 2013.

Autopsy reports of the six people killed in the shooting in Arizona were released yesterday by the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office. The U.S. Justice Department had asked Burns to bar the release of the reports because news stories about them may jeopardize Loughner's chance for a fair trial.

The case is U.S. v. Loughner, 11-00187, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona (Phoenix).

© 2011 The Washington Post Company