Giffords Moves Forward

Almost two years after causing chaos in a Tucson shopping center, Jared Loughner was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Thursday, November 8.  According to CNN the courtroom was filled for the sentencing including many of the victims and their families who were allowed to make statements before the courtroom and address the person who caused so much physical and emotional pain to those that survived.

While Loughner could have faced the death penalty, prosecutors took into account his mental illness as well as the desire of the victims not to pursue the death penalty, prosecutors agreed to a plea bargain, where Loughner will keep his life, but he will never again be a free man.  The 24 year old will serve seven consecutive life sentences plus an additional 140 years for his crimes.

Mavanel Stoddard spoke directly to Loughner about her husband who died in her arms that day after trying to shield her from the bullets.  She was shot three times. “You took away my life, my love, my reason for living,” Stoddard told Loughner according to CNN.com.

Mark Kelley, husband of former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who after being shot in the head that day, stepped down from her seat in congress and is still working on her recovery, was her voice in the courtroom, “Gabby would trade her own life to bring back any one of those you savagely murdered on that day,” he said. “Her life has been forever changed. Plans she had for our family and her career have been immeasurably altered. Every day is a continuous struggle to do those things she was once so very good at.”

After lauding his wife, Kelley made sure to let Loughner know that he and his wife are ready to move on with their lives. “You have decades upon decades to contemplate what you did. But after today. After this moment. Here and now. Gabby and I are done thinking about you.”

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