Tuesday morning, Loughner is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Tuscon for a competency hearing. According to the Los Angeles Times
, psychiatrists are expected to testify that although Loughner is subject to changes in his mental condition, he understands what he is alleged to have done and understands the seriousness of the charges against him. If this is the case, it will pave the way for him to be tried on the charges arising from the Jan. 8, 2011 shootings.
Although the exact terms of the plea bargain that will see him plead guilty are unknown, sources tell the media he will avoid the death penalty and receive a life sentence.
The Boston Globe
reports Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 federal charges including first-degree murder and attempted murder. The judge will have to agree to the change of plea before the proposed deal can be carried out.
reports the hearing scheduled for Tuesday is to be the fourth one held to determine Loughner's mental status. In May 2011, the 23-year-old was determined unfit to be tried because he was suffering from schizophrenia and was delusional. Loughner is presently being held at a psychiatric hospital run by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in Springfield, Missouri. He is currently being medicated against his will to make him mentally fit to stand trial.
On Jan. 8, 2011, Giffords was holding an outdoor meeting with constituents in front of a Tuscon Safeway store when Loughner allegedly opened fire. Six people were killed including nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green and John Roll, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.
Giffords was shot in the head and suffered severe injuries. She later resigned from Congress and her seat was won by Ron Barber. Barber, who had worked for Giffords, was also shot at the gathering.
Loughner's lawyers are not commenting on a possible plea arrangement and the U.S. Attorney's office will neither confirm nor deny that a deal has been reached with Loughner to plead guilty.