Victims, family tell Loughner their lives changed
PHOENIX (AP) – Some of those shot by Jared Lee Loughner, their family members and those who lost loved ones in the rampage that killed six and wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, spoke to him at sentencing hearing Thursday. A judge confirmed he will spend the rest of his life in prison. Here are some of their comments:
“You took away my life, my love and my reason for living,” said Mavanell Stoddard, who was shot three times and cradled her dying husband in her arms as he lay bleeding on the sidewalk after shielding her from the spray of bullets.
“I am so lonesome, hate living without him,” she said, her voice cracking.
Her husband, 76-year-old Dorwin Stoddard, was shot in the head during the attack after diving to protect his wife. He lived another 10 minutes, then died in his wife’s arms.
“You stopped our 15-year almost perfect marriage of total happiness,” Mavanell Stoddard said, staring at Loughner. “You ended all that in an instant.
“But we will never let you win,” she added. “You will not take our spirit. You will not take our ability to love.”
MARK KELLY, GIFFORDS’ HUSBAND
Giffords didn’t speak, but stood at her husband’s side as he talked.
“Gabby would trade her own life to bring back any one of those you savagely murdered on that day,” said Mark Kelly, former astronaut and Giffords’ husband.
“Her life has been forever changed. Plans she had for our family and her career have been immeasurably altered. Every day is a continuous struggle to do those things she once was so good at.”
“Gabby struggles to walk. Her right arm is paralyzed. She is partially blind,” Kelly said. “Gabby works harder in one minute of an hour fighting to make each individual moment count for something than most of us work in an entire day.”
“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.
U.S. REP. RON BARBER
U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, a former Giffords staffer who won election to her seat when she stepped down, stared down Loughner from the podium, at times almost scolding the confessed shooter.
“I am very angry and am sick of heart about what you have done and the hurt you have caused to all of us,” said Barber, who was shot in the cheek and thigh as he stood with Giffords on the day of the attack. “And now you must pay the price. You must pay the price for the terror, injuries and deaths you caused.”
Susan Hileman, who was shot, spoke to Loughner, at times visibly shaking.
“We’ve been told about your demons, about the illness that skewed your thinking,” she said. “Your parents, your schools, your community, they all failed you.
“It’s all true,” Hileman said. “It’s not enough.”
“You pointed a weapon and shot me three times,” she said, staring directly at Loughner. He looked back at her. “And now I will walk out of this courtroom and into the rest of my life and I won’t think of you again.”
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