Jared Loughner may have avoided the death penalty but will spend the rest of his life behind bars. The 23-year old pled guilty to 19 counts and will receive seven life sentences with the possibility of an additional 140 years in prison, reports the Arizona Star.
His sentencing hearing is scheduled for November 15 but Loughner will spend his life in prison without being eligible for parole.
Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Larry A. Burns ruled that Loughner is mentally fit to make the plea after a psychological evaluation that allows Loughner to avoid a trial.
Dr. Christina Pietz testified that Loughner started taking medication last year for schizophrenia and soon understood what he did, reports the Star. The paper reports that Loughner was surprised that Giffords survived the attack and cried when he learned that his youngest victim, Christina-Taylor Green, had died.
AP reports that Loughner understood that he killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Gabrielle Giffords, his intended target.
"Gabby and I have been in contact with the US Attorneys' Office throughout this process," Mark Kelly, Gifford's husband, said in a joint statement. "We don't speak for all of the victims or their families, but Gabby and I are satisfied with this plea agreement."
“The pain and loss caused by the events of Jan. 8, 2011, are incalculable,” Giffords and Kelly said, according to the Associated Press. “Avoiding a trial will allow us—and we hope the whole Southern Arizona community—to continue with our recovery."