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He was otherwise silent as he sat next to his lawyer, Judy Clarke, gazing expressionless at the survivors who spoke in court during the proceedings. He displayed no visible sign of emotion when he was sentenced.
Giffords stood by her husband’s side, looking impassively at Loughner as Kelly addressed the defendant directly, in a clear, ringing voice. “You may have put a bullet through her head, but you haven’t put a dent in her commitment to make the world a better place,” Kelly told him.
“Although you were mentally ill, you were responsible,” he added. “You have decades upon decades to contemplate what you did, but from this moment, Gabby and I are done thinking about you.”
Giffords did not speak. She resigned from Congress in January to focus on her recovery.
The proceedings marked a dramatic epilogue to a rampage of gun violence that shocked the nation, reignited a debate over control of firearms and cut short the political career of a rising star in the Democratic Party.
Several survivors of the shooting also gave statements in court, including Giffords’ former congressional aide Ron Barber, who also was wounded.
Barber served out the rest of her term after winning a special election. Barber ran in Tuesday’s election for a newly created U.S. congressional district in Arizona and was running neck-and-neck with Republican Martha McSally, with the outcome hanging on some 80,000 provisional and early votes that have yet to be tallied.
Speaking to Loughner’s parents, Amy and Randy, who were in the audience, Barber said, “Please know that I and my family hold no animosity toward you, and that I can appreciate how devastating the acts of your son were.”
Loughner pleaded guilty in August in federal court to 19 charges, including murder and attempted murder, in connection with the shootings outside a Tucson area supermarket.