The man accused of wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a deadly shooting rampage has arrived at a federal courthouse in Tucson for his first court appearance since an angry outburst got him kicked out of a May competency hearing. Jared Lee Loughner's mental status is again the order of business at Wednesday's hearing, as a judge decides whether it's likely the 23-year-old can be made competent to stand trial. But this time, Loughner will be under the effects of psychotropic drugs, which he has been forced to take the past 60 days.
U.S. District Judge Larry Burns will decide whether to grant prosecutors' request to extend Loughner's stay at a Missouri prison facility by another eight months. A psychologist has told the court the extended stay would give Loughner time to improve and become mentally fit for trial. Burns may also discuss whether to hold another hearing on Loughner's forcible medication. Loughner arrived at the downtown courthouse shortly before 8:30 a.m., KMSB-TV reported.
Experts have concluded he suffers from schizophrenia. Loughner has been at the Springfield, Mo., prison facility the past four months after Burns found him mentally unfit for trial at a May 25 hearing in Tucson.
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