Public Defenders

PD Who Defended Ted Kaczynski Will Reportedly Represent Suspect in Ariz. Shooting Spree


Updated: The federal public defender who represented Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui will reportedly defend the suspect charged Sunday in the shooting spree at a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, Ariz., this weekend that claimed the lives of a federal judge and five others.

A federal judicial source told CNN that public defender Judy Clarke will represent 22-year-old Jared Loughner, the college dropout scheduled to appear in court this afternoon on federal charges of murdering two government employees—U.S. District Judge John Roll, the chief federal judge in Arizona, and congressional aide Gabriel Zimmerman, the New York Times reports. He is also accused of attempting to kill U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as she met with constituents, as well as attempting to kill two other federal employees, both of them aides.

The Arizona Republic also reports that Clarke has been tapped by the public defender’s office as the recommended lawyer for Loughner.

Court documents filed in federal court in Phoenix reveal that Loughner apparently had planned the killings, the Times says. According to an affidavit by an FBI agent, an envelope found in a safe contained the words, “I planned ahead,” “My assassination” and “Giffords.” The safe also contained a 2007 letter from Giffords thanking Loughner for attending a similar event in 2007.

Court documents indicate that Roll, however, was not targeted in advance, the Washington Post reports. He had come to the event on his way home from Mass to thank Giffords for sending a letter intended to help declare a judicial emergency in his district because of the high number of immigration cases heard there, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall told The Arizona Republic her office will file several state charges against Loughner, including murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault. FBI director Robert Mueller did not rule out additional federal charges of terrorism, the Times says. Also killed in the shooting was a 9-year-old girl and three elderly women. In all, 20 people were shot.

Five days after the shooting, Giffords opened her eyes of her own accord, ABC News reported. She had been partially opening her eyes in response to examinations on Sunday, ABC News said, but Thursday was her first voluntary attempt. Giffords has been yawning, rubbing her eyes moving both sides of her body and responding to commands, but she is still in critical condition. Dr. Michael Lemole told ABC News that within a few days, they plan to remove her breathing tube and assess her ability to speak.

Loughner was a troubled man who had been suspended from Pima Community College because of disruptions, according to the Times. He later withdrew from the school. Several YouTube videos apparently posted by Loughner air bizarre grievances involving the Constitution, grammar and currencies. According to the Post, he had undergone “a frightening transformation” after high school as he increasingly showed signs of mental instability.

Loughner was apprehended after two men tackled him and a woman grabbed the magazine of his gun when he dropped it while reloading. The semiautomatic Glock pistol used in the shooting was purchased legally at Sportsman’s Warehouse. A law enforcement source told CNN that one Walmart store refused to sell Loughner ammunition because of his behavior, but he was able to buy bullets at a second Walmart.

Authorities had said earlier there could be an accomplice in the case, but it turned out the person of interest was a taxi driver who drove Loughner to the Safeway.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal: “Federal Judge John Roll Killed in Attack that Targeted Congresswoman”

Last updated Jan. 14 to note changes in Giffords’ health status.

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