By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — The man accused of a shooting rampage at an Arizona political rally that killed six people and left a U.S. congresswoman seriously wounded has pleaded guilty.
Jared Lee Loughner’s plea on August 7 comes after a federal judge ruled that months of forced medication for Loughner’s schizophrenia made him competent to understand the severity of the charges against him.
Judge Larry A. Burns accepted the plea agreement, saying it was in the best interest of everyone involved.
Under the plea, Loughner avoids the death penalty but could face life in prison without parole.
Gabrielle Giffords, the Democratic congresswoman who was Loughner’s intended target, continues to recover from the January 2011 shooting. She has since left her post in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Those killed in the shooting rampage included Arizona’s chief federal judge, one of Giffords’ aides, and a nine-year-old girl.