Suspect in Rep. Giffords shooting is held without bail

The man accused of the attempted assassination of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) was ordered held without bail Monday as doctors for Giffords continued to offer cautious optimism about her recovery. 

U.S. federal judge Lawrence Anderson told Jared Lee Loughner, 22, that he could receive the death penalty or life in prison if he is convicted on five federal charges for the weekend shootings in Tucson. 

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Anderson, who according to ABC News called Loughner a “danger to the community,” also set a preliminary hearing for Jan. 24 at 1:30 p.m. Arizona time. 

Loughner donned a tan inmate jumpsuit and sported a shaved head in his initial appearance.

He also had handcuffs linked to chains around his waist and legs, according to The Washington Post. 

 In a bizarre mug shot, Loughner wore a disturbing smile and appeared to have a bruise or cut on his right temple. His left eye also appeared bruised. The bruising might have resulted from when Loughner was wrestled to the ground by people attending a meet-the-congresswoman event in Giffords’s district. 

The weekend shootings left Giffords and two others in critical condition and six others dead, including federal district judge John Roll and Gabe Zimmerman, a community outreach director for the congresswoman. 

Doctors on Monday said Giffords was entering a critical period for her recovery. Giffords suffered a gunshot to the head on Saturday, with the bullet passing through the left side of her brain. 

Doctors said they are worried that the wound could cause dangerous swelling to the brain over the next 48 hours. Swelling usually happens during the first three to four days after a head wound like the one suffered by Giffords. 

“With regard to Congresswoman Giffords’s recovery, at this point no change is good and we have no change,” said Dr. Michael Lemole, the chief of neurosurgery at University Medical Center (UMC) in Tucson. 

“The CAT scans show there is no progression of that swelling,” he added. “We’re not out of the woods yet.”

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), who founded the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force more than a decade ago, said there are reasons for optimism about Giffords’s recovery.

Still, any damage to the brain is very serious and can take a long time to heal, he said.

Aside from Giffords, UMC trauma chief Peter Rhee said, the facility was caring for eight other victims of the shooting. 

 The Associated Press reported that Loughner was guarded by almost a dozen U.S. marshals during his court appearance. Local and federal law enforcement agents also surrounded the perimeter of the courthouse. 

 Well-known defense attorney Judy Clarke was appointed to represent Loughner. 

 Clarke has represented defendants in high-profile capital cases such as the “Unabomber,“ Ted Kaczynski, and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. Clarke also assisted in the case of convicted al Qaeda member Zacarias Mossaoui, who helped the plot to take down the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

According to The Arizona Republic, federal judges from Arizona’s southern district recused themselves from the case because they worked alongside Roll. 

Clarke also asked Judge Anderson to exclude the entire Arizona bench and the U.S. attorney’s office in Phoenix from the case, but Anderson told her to file the necessary motions, according to the Republic. 

So far, it does not appear that Loughner is providing much information to police or federal investigators sent to the scene by President Obama. 

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Monday morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that Loughner has not cooperated with the authorities.

Anderson concluded Monday’s hearing by saying: “Good luck to you, Mr. Loughner. We are adjourned.”