Throngs of reporters waited hours Monday to get their first look at the mysterious man accused of a deadly shooting rampage that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords critically wounded.
When the doors finally opened to U.S. Magistrate Lawrence Anderson’s chambers, there was a mad rush for the wooden benches. Reporters elbowed their way past courtroom artists clutching their sketch pads, law clerks and more than a dozen stern-looking U.S. marshals. One man was kicked out after he touched an electronic device he was holding.
The room buzzed with whispered conversations.
Then Jared Loughner walked into the room. Everything fell silent.
Wearing a tan prison uniform and handcuffs, the 22-year-old looked vacantly toward the back of the packed courtroom; his deep-set eyes seemed unfocused. A pink gash stood out from the hairline of his shaved head.
He paused for a moment, then turned and sat down next to his lawyer, Judy Clarke, who whispered in his ear.
Loughner stood up when the judge entered the chambers. The suspect walked to the podium. Anderson explained that Loughner could face life imprisonment or the death penalty for the killings of a federal judge and a Giffords staffer, and for the attempted assassination of Giffords, who was shot in the head. Four others also died and more were wounded; Loughner will likely be charged with those crimes in state courts.
The judge told Loughner his rights, including the right to remain silent, and asked him if he understood.
Loughner — who has not been cooperating with investigators — leaned forward and said loudly: “Yes.”
As Loughner left the podium, his lawyer placed her hand on his back. They walked toward the door, where a marshal grabbed Loughner’s right arm and marched him out of the chambers.