Suspect pleads not guilty in deadly Ariz. shooting

TUCSON, Ariz. - (AP) - The man accused of carrying out a mass shooting in Tucson pleaded not guilty Monday to charges he tried to kill Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and two of her aides.

The plea by Jared Lee Loughner marked his second courtappearance since he allegedly shot the congresswoman and 18 othersat Giffords' meet-and-greet event on Jan. 8 outside a grocery storein Tucson. Six people died, and 13 others were wounded.

Loughner, 22, faces federal charges of trying to assassinateGiffords and attempting to murder two of her aides. He will laterface state charges dealing with other victims.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns of San Diego asked Loughnerattorney Judy Clarke whether there was any question about herclient's abilities to understand the case against him.

"We are not raising any issues at this time," Clarke said.

Investigators have said Loughner was mentally disturbed andacting increasingly erratic in the weeks leading up to theshooting. If he pleads not guilty by reason insanity and issuccessful, he could avoid the death penalty and be sent to amental health facility instead of prison.

At least eight U.S. Marshals were present at the hearing in thePhoenix courthouse, where Loughner entered Monday afternoon smilingand wearing an orange prison suit and glasses.

Prosecutor Wallace Kleindienst estimated that he would knowwithin the next 30 days whether additional federal charges would befiled against Loughner. Kleindienst said prosecutors provideddefense lawyers with records taken from Loughner's computer anddocuments of about 250 interviews made in the case.

Giffords and two of her aides were among the 13 shooting victimswho survived the attack. The six who died in the attack includeU.S. District Judge John Roll and a 9-year-old girl.

Officials: Rep. Giffords was able to stand upGiffords' condition improves after AZ shootingFocus turns to gun control after Ariz. shootings

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