Mark Kelly, husband of former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, speaking on last Friday’s installment of the “Today Show” described the harrowing experience of attending the sentencing hearing of Jared Lee Loughner, the man that killed six people and seriously wounded Giffords in a 2011 shooting spree.
“Inside the courtroom, it was pretty comfortable until the moment that he walked in and then it was pretty intense to be sitting just probably about 30 feet from where Jared Loughner was. Gabby was sitting up in her chair and sitting up straight, spent a lot of time looking at him. It was the first time she really had ever seen him.”
Kelly explained the background to his wife’s attendance at the hearing, which was not necessarily an easy decision for them to make.
“This was something we’ve been thinking about for the last month. Before that, she wasn’t really interested in attending, but about a month ago she changed her mind and thought it would be a good idea for her to be there to get some sense of resolution to what happened.”
Kelly read a statement during Thursday’s hearing. While Kelly read his wife continued to look straight at Loughner, who has pleaded guilty to charges connected to the murder of six and injuring several other people, including Giffords at a Tucson rally almost two years ago. The twenty-four year old Loughner was sentenced to life in prison and no chance of parole.
“Gabby’s eyes were locked on his the entire time as I read our statement. I kept looking up and his expression would change. He was paying attention to what we were saying,” Kelly, an astronaut, said. “He wasn’t really happy at points, and I almost felt like during that whole few minutes that he and Gabby were having quite the staring contest.”