Accused Tucson Gunman Jared Loughner Smiles Through Hearing

Photo: Jared Loughner
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With a broad smile on his face, accused Tucson gunman Jared Loughner pleaded not guilty today to several charges stemming from the deadly shooting earlier this month.

Shackled at his waist and ankles, Loughner did not stop smiling during the court proceedings, staring straight ahead as the crowded courtroom looked on.

He remained silent during the arraignment, allowing his lawyer, Judy Clarke, to enter the not guilty plea for him.

With a fresh buzz cut and clad in an orange wrinkled jumpsuit, Loughner stood as directed when U.S. District Judge Larry Burns entered the courtroom. He sat flanked by U.S. Marshals and spoke only to answer a few questions from Clarke. Clarke also patted Loughner on the back several times during the proceedings.

Loughner, 22, is accused of the Jan. 8 shooting that killed six and injured several others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who suffered a gunshot wound to the head.

Among those who died was 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, who had been attending Giffords' event to learn more about how the country's government worked.

Loughner faces five federal charges: one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the United States and two counts of intent to kill employees of the United States. He will likely face state charges as well.

He pleaded not guilty today to the charges of attempting to kill Giffords and two of her aides. He has yet to be arraigned on the charge of murdering a federal judge.

Loughner has been held at the Phoenix Correctional Institution, which is located 140 miles north of Tucson, but in court today the prosecution argued for the case to be moved back to Tucson.

Clarke said she wants the opportunity to talk about where Loughner would be housed if the case were to be moved back to Tucson, and said she would inform the court of her concerns in the next few days. Clarke did not mention anything regarding Loughner's mental competency.

When asked by Burns if there was any discovery in the case Clarke said she was presented with an envelope of some disks right before the court appearance. The prosecution says they have turned over 25 disks from Loughner's computer and 250 accounts of witnesses.

Loughner is next expected in court on March 9 for a status hearing on all the charges, including additional murder charges.

In the wake of the shooting, many people from ex-girlfriends to former professors who taught Loughner have come forward to say that they had long been concerned about the defendant's behavior.

Ashley Figueroa, who dated Loughner in high school, said that he appeared "soulless" when she ran into him a few months prior to the shooting.

"He used to scare me sometimes," Figueroa told ABC News' affiliate KGUN. "He'd make me feel uncomfortable. He'd get really mad, clench his fist and kind of have a little tantrum. He'd flail his arms and walk off."

When Loughner was just 17 he was arrested after drinking so much vodka that his school sent him to a hospital emergency room.

"[Loughner] advised that he drank the alcohol because he was very upset as his father yelled at him," according to the May 2006 Pima County Sheriff's office police report obtained by ABC News. "I could see his eyes were very red and he was crying...I was advised that he had stolen the alcohol from his father's liquor cabinet." He was charged with charged as a minor with possession of alcohol.

Loughner was also arrested when he was a teenager for marijuana possession.

And once enrolled at Pima Community College, Loughner was investigated five times by campus police.

In February 2010, police interviewed Loughner after a teacher referred to him as "creepy" and as having a "dark personality" after he allegedly suggested that a girl who had written a poem about an abortion strap a bomb to the baby.

The campus officer eventually determined that the incident did not "justify making contact with Loughner by police," according to the report.

A few months later, a teacher called campus police after Loughner grew "very hostile" upon learning that his grade in his pilates class was a "B." According to the report the teacher felt "intimidated" and had concern that Loughner might turn physical, requesting that an officer "be nearby" on the last day of class. Campus police monitored the classroom, but never spoke to Loughner about the complaint, the report says.

Over time, Loughner's behavior appeared to become stranger.

Alleged Tucson Gunman Jared Loughner Has Troubled Past

In September, after Loughner disrupted a math class, an officer who questioned the suspect about the incident wrote, "Loughner's head was constantly tilted to the left and his eyes were jittery."

The next week, when officers went to tell Loughner that he had been suspended from Pima after violating the student code of conduct for taping a YouTube video on campus during which he declared the college unconstitutional, the 22-year-old held a constant trance of staring at the school official.

The official wrote in a report that Loughner stared at him for an hour as the official spoke to the student and his father. When Loughner did finally speak, he said, "I realize now that this is all a scam."

The details of Loughner's behavior the morning of the shooting were also bizarre.

At 5 a.m. Loughner posted a message on his MySpace page, writing, "Goodbye friends...don't be mad at me."

Then his attempt to buy ammunition at a Wal-Mart was rejected because the salesman found his behavior to be "erratic," but Loughner was successful buying the clips at a different Wal-Mart.

At 7:30 a.m., Loughner ran a red light and was pulled over by an Arizona Game and Fish Department officer. The officer found no outstanding warrants and let Loughner go with a verbal warning to drive carefully.

Just a half hour later, Loughner's father Randy spotted him pulling a black bag from the trunk of their car. Loughner's father followed his son in his car, but lost him.

Less than two hours later Loughner took a taxi to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords event, and 13 minutes later, Loughner was allegedly firing.

ABC News' Eloise Harper contributed to this report.

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