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Reuters: Jared Loughner hearings headed to Tucson: court


Court proceedings against accused Tucson shooter Jared Loughner are set to move to a U.S. federal court in Tucson, after the prosecution and defense reached agreement, court documents showed on Friday

January 28, 2011- Prosecutor Wallace Kleindienst and Loughner's attorney Judy Clarke agreed proceedings should "be held in the Tucson Division, without waiving the right of either party to raise motions or objections to venue in the future," according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

Loughner, a 22-year old college dropout, pleaded not guilty in the Phoenix court on Monday to federal charges of attempting to assassinate U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and attempting to murder two of her staff members.

He is accused of opening fire on Giffords and a crowd of bystanders outside a grocery store on January 8, killing six people, including a federal judge, and wounding 13. Giffords was shot in the head but survived.

The agreement between the two sides would still have to be formally approved by Judge Larry Burns, the San Diego federal justice who is hearing the case, the U.S. Attorney's Office said on Friday.

In a motion filed last Sunday, prosecutors sought to shift any future proceedings against Loughner to Tucson, citing the principle that defendants stand trial in the jurisdiction where their alleged crimes took place.

Prosecutors also argued that the 19 people struck by gunfire in the rampage, and the "vast majority" of witnesses to the shooting, all lived in the Tucson area.

At the hearing on Monday, Burns set March 9 as the next court date in the federal case.

Clarke had said she did not object to moving the proceedings to Tucson but sought clarification on where Loughner would be housed.

Last Friday, Giffords was transferred to a rehabilitation facility in Houston, Texas, following life-saving surgery and intensive care at the University Medical Center in Tucson in the days after the shooting.

Judge Burns was appointed to the case after Roll's colleagues on the Arizona federal bench recused themselves.

Loughner could face up to life in prison if convicted of trying to kill the lawmaker and the other two attempted murder charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years.

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