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Killer of Social Worker Gabe Zimmerman sentenced to life in prison

Jared Lee Loughner sits in court as victims of the shooting testify. Illustration courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.

Jared Lee Loughner, the gunman who injured former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and killed her aide social worker Gabe Zimmerman and five others, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole, according to this article in the Los Angeles Times.

During the sentencing hearing in Tucson federal court, Loughner heard emotional testimony from victims and their families, including Giffords’ husband retired astronaut Mark Kelly.

“Mr. Loughner, you may have put a bullet through her head but you haven’t put a dent in her spirit and her commitment to make the world a better place,” Kelly said.

Loughner opened fire on Giffords and others in January 2011 while the congresswoman was doing a routine campaign appearance at a Tucson shopping center. Giffords was forced to retire from Congress due to her injuries.

Retired social worker Susan Hileman was injured in the shooting. Hileman is a friend and neighbor of the Green family and took their 9-year-old daughter Christina-Taylor to the shopping center to meet Rep. Giffords.

Hileman was shot while protecting Christina-Taylor, who died.

Hileman also addressed Loughner directly in court.

“We’ve been told about your demons, about the (mental) illness that skewed your thinking,” she said Hileman. “It’s all true. … It’s not enough.”

“You pointed a weapon and shot me three times,” she said, staring directly at Loughner. “And now I walk out of this courtroom and into the rest of my life and I won’t think of you again.”

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