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Jared Loughner expected to plead guilty in Tucson shootings

Loughner was declared unfit to stand trial after the 2011 Arizona rampage that killed six people and wounded 13, including Gabrielle Giffords. A reported plea bargain could mean a life sentence.

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Defendant Jared Loughner sits with his head in his hands during a competency hearing in federal court on May 25, 2011, in Tucson, Ariz. as shown in this artists' rendering. Loughner was deemed by a federal judge to be incompetent to stand trial at that time. Since then, he has taken forcible medication and is expected to be found competent to stand trial on Tuesday.

Chris Morrison/Bill Robles/AP/File

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Updated 3:30 p.m. EDT

A year and a half after the Arizona shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded 13, including then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the suspected shooter is reportedly set to enter a plea bargain.

At a hearing Tuesday, a court-appointed psychiatrist is expected to testify that Jared Lee Loughner is mentally competent to enter a plea. Assuming the judge accepts that judgement, Mr. Loughner would then plead guilty to murder and attempted murder, in exchange for a life sentence.

In March 2011, Loughner pleaded not guilty to 49 federal charges from the shooting, which occurred at a January political event with Congresswoman Giffords outside a Tucson supermarket.

US District Judge Alan Burns, who is presiding over the case, issued a scheduling order Monday that confirms a plea deal has been reached.

Mary Stoddard, whose husband, Dorwan, was killed in the shooting, told the Associated Press that she was "just thrilled" at the news, and said she had been hoping for a plea bargain to avoid a lengthy trial.

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