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Criminal Justice

Loughner Lawyers Apparently Trying to Show Mental Illness Runs in the Family

Posted Aug 17, 2011 10:45 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Lawyers for the man accused of killing a federal judge in an Arizona shooting spree are apparently trying to show that mental illness runs in the suspect’s family.

Subpoenas indicate that lawyers for Jared Lee Loughner are seeking information about his relatives and ancestors in Illinois, the New York Times reports. The effort is apparently intended to bolster an insanity defense or to try to defeat the death penalty, legal experts told the newspaper. The defense is seeking birth and death records of Loughner’s ancestors stretching back to 1893.

Loughner was accused of killing U.S. District Judge John Roll and five others in a January shooting spree. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was among those injured.

Two experts have found Loughner suffers from schizophrenia, the story says. He has trouble sleeping, sometimes staying awake for 50 hours at a time, and paces his cell so much that his legs have swollen, according to court records cited by the Times. Court filings previously revealed that he threw chairs and spat at his lawyers.

The defense says Loughner also suffers from echolalia, causing him to repeat whatever is said to him.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “9th Circuit Extends Injunction Barring Forced Medication of Loughner”

ABAJournal.com: “Jared Loughner Spit at His Lawyers, But Defense Opposes Meds”

ABAJournal.com: “Suspect in Slaying of Chief Ariz. Fed’l Judge, Shooting of Congresswoman Found Incompetent for Trial”

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