Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords faced the man who shot her in the head during a sentencing for the shooter Thursday.
Jared Lee Loughner shot Giffords, killed six others, and injured a dozen more when he open fired on a campaign event for the Congresswoman in January 2011. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole but was spared the death penalty according to his plea deal.
Giffords husband Mark Kelly addressed Loughner during the proceedings. “Gabby would trade her own life to save any of those you savagely murdered that day,” he said before naming the victims. “Then there’s Gabby. Now she struggles to deliver each and every sentence…to walk. Her right arm is paralyzed. She is partially blind.”
“After today…Gabby and I are done thinking about you,” he concluded.
Giffords and Kelly sat among other victims in a packed courtroom while his sentence was read, according to NBC Tucson affiliate KVOA. Loughner’s parents were seen weeping in the court as the families of victims read statements.
Giffords, who resigned from Congress, continues to recover from the brain injury. She has remained a political figure during her recovery, including a stirring appearance at the Democratic National Convention where she led the room in the Pledge of Allegiance.
A Giffords’ aide who was also shot on that day, Ron Barber, won her seat in Congress during a special election in June. Democrat Barber faced re-election Nov. 6, but the results remained too close to call as of Thursday.
Barber addressed Loughner in court. “There’s no way to make sense of your senseless acts,” he said. “The tragedy your brutal violence inflicted does not and will not define our community. Now you must pay the price.”
Loughner had already pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges in a deal to guarantee he would spend the rest of his life behind bars. The 24-year-old was diagnosed with schizophrenia following the shooting.
Loughner did not address the court.