Testimony: Loughner's competency can be restored

By

Published:

 

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- A psychologist says the man accused of wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a deadly shooting rampage is still delusional, but she believes he can be restored to competency after another eight months of treatment.

Dr. Christina Pietz testified Wednesday at a hearing on the mental status of 23-year-old Jared Lee Loughner. She has been treating Loughner at a Missouri prison facility.

Pietz says Loughner, who is being forcibly medicated, remains on suicide watch but is no longer having auditory hallucinations. She says she has no reason to think he won't keep getting better.

Pietz added Loughner "understands that he has murdered people" and "talks about how remorseful he is."

Loughner sat expressionless as he listened quietly to Pietz's testimony. He looked thin and pale and was wearing a white T-shirt and khakis. He was sporting a short haircut and sideburns.

Two federal marshals stood behind him.