June 12, 2012 / 9:28 PM / 7 years ago

Accused Tucson shooter's competency hearing rescheduled

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A federal judge on Tuesday postponed until August 7 a competency hearing for the man accused of killing six people and wounding ex-congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others in a mass shooting at a public event last year.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ordered a status hearing on Jared Lee Loughner’s mental condition to be pushed back after prosecutors and defense attorneys sought additional time. It was to be held in Tucson, Arizona on June 27.

Burns also ordered that the accused gunman remain in custody at a federal prison hospital in Springfield, Missouri, “pending further order of this Court.”

Loughner, 23, has pleaded not guilty to 49 criminal charges stemming from the January 8, 2011, shooting spree in the parking lot outside a Tucson supermarket. Among those killed during the burst of violence were a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.

Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, was shot through the head and is still in rehabilitation. She resigned her seat in January and an election is being held Tuesday to choose a candidate to serve out the remaining six months of her congressional term.

Loughner was declared mentally unfit for trial by Burns in May 2011 after two government experts concluded that he suffered from schizophrenia, disordered thinking and delusions.

He is confined to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility where he is being forcibly medicated and undergoing therapy for his mental illness.

Editing by Tim Gaynor and Gunna Dickson

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