For the second time since he allegedly shot 19 people, killing six, Jared Lee Loughner appeared inside a courtroom today. He pleaded not guilty to charges that he tried to kill Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and two of her aides.
At the moment, the 22-year old faces federal charges of trying to assassinate Giffords and this pair of government officials. He will later face state charges that center on the other victims.
Loughner entered a Phoenix courthouse wearing an orange jumpsuit and glasses. His hair has grown out slightly since his sinister mug shot was snapped two weeks ago.
During the hearing, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns asked Loughner's attorney, Judy Clarke - who has represented such clients as Ted Kaczynski and Olympic bomber Eric Rudolphwhether - if there was any question about her client's ability to understand the case against him.
"We are not raising any issues at this time," Clarke said.This issue could be pertinent because many believe Clarke will pursue a defense of mental incompetency for the alleged shooter. Burns set a March 9 hearing to consider motions in Loughner's case.
As for Giffords, she remains hospitalized until doctors determine when it is safe to move her to a rehab facility.