PHOENIX — A 22-year-old man described as a social outcast with wild beliefs steeped in mistrust faces a federal court hearing on charges he tried to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a Tucson shooting rampage that left six people dead.
Public defenders are asking that the attorney who defended Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Timothy McVeigh and “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski defend Jared Lee Loughner, who makes his first court appearance at 2 p.m. today in Phoenix.
Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Loughner was not cooperating and told ABC’s “Good Morning America” the suspect had said “not a word” to investigators. Dupnik said authorities were all but certain Loughner acted alone, saying “he’s a typical troubled individual who’s a loner.”
The hearing in Phoenix comes just a few hours after President Barack Obama leads a shocked and saddened nation in a moment of silence for the victims and their families. Obama will observe the moment of silence at 9 a.m. with White House staff on the South Lawn.
Authorities weren’t saying late Sunday where Loughner was being held, and officials were working to appoint an attorney for him. Heather Williams, the first assistant federal public defender in Arizona, said they’re asking that San Diego attorney Judy Clarke be appointed.
Clarke, a former federal public defender in San Diego and Spokane, Wash., served on teams that defended McVeigh, Kaczynski and Susan Smith, a South Carolina woman who drowned her two sons in 1994.
Loughner is charged with one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the federal government and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee. More charges are expected. Six people were killed in the rampage and 14 were wounded.