crazy in arizona

Jared Loughner Appears in Court; Gabrielle Giffords Gives ‘Thumbs-Up‘ to Doctors [Updated]

Tucson gunman Jared Loughner appeared in court for the first time on Monday. He’ll be represented by public defender Judy Clarke. Meanwhile, Congresswoman Giffords gave doctors a “thumbs-up,” President Obama is heading to Tucson to meet with families of the victims, and the Westboro Baptist Church is headed there to torture the family of a murdered 9-year-old. More on Loughner’s criminal past, how his parents are handling the whole thing, and all the other latest news on the Arizona shooting case, below:

• Loughner looks as insane in his mugshot as you’d expect. [NYP]

• Loughner appeared before a federal judge on Monday. He sported a shaved head and a cut or bruise on the right side of his forehead during the brief hearing in Phoenix federal court, where he was ordered held without bail on charges that included the attempted assassination of a congresswoman. “Yes, I am Jared Lee Loughner,” he told Judge Lawrence Anderson in a courtroom packed with reporters and U.S. marshals. “Yes,” Loughner replied again when Anderson asked whether he understood he faces a possible death sentence. Neither of Loughner’s parents — with whom he lives in Tucson — nor any other relatives were in court. Loughner’s lawyer, Judy Clarke, patted him on the back afterward. [NYP, NYT]

Clarke is “perhaps the best-known federal public defender in the country, with a reputation for taking on cases that seem impossible.” She represented Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Robert Rudolph, and Susan Smith, who drowned her own kids. She helped all of them avoid death sentences. [NYM]

• Loughner was escorted into the courtroom with his hands and feet in restraints. He agreed not to contest his continued imprisonment but offered no hint of how he would respond to the murder and attempted-murder charges. With his face a bit swollen, he showed little emotion during his seventeen-minute hearing. [NYT, WP]

• Gabrielle Giffords gave her doctors a big “thumbs-up”on Monday. Whether she will make a complete recovery remains uncertain. But doctors “marveled” at how the 40-year-old congresswoman responded to their verbal commands, wiggling her toes and holding up two fingers when they asked her to. [NYP]

• Neighbors say Loughner’s father, Randy, is “the neighborhood prick,” but Loughner’s mother, Amy, is “just as nice as can be.” The neighbor added: “They’re like the Addams Family.” [NYP]

• A neighbor says Loughner’s “parents are ill, weeping uncontrollably, and devastated by the actions of their son.” [AZCentral]

• Loughner’s father “has prepared and may release a public statement.” [WSJ]

• Loughner has a few petty crimes on his rap sheet. He was once arrested for scrawling a symbol “that looked vaguely like a combination of the letters C and X” on a street sign. Loughner told a police officer that it meant “Christian,” and he “confessed to other acts of graffiti vandalism.” Later, Loughner tried to become a volunteer dog walker but was “asked to leave when he refused to obey orders to keep dogs away from a contaminated area.” [WSJ]

• The taxi driver who took Loughner to the Safeway where he carried out his attack didn’t notice any red flags. [NYT]

• “I’d say the chances are 99 percent that he has schizophrenia.” [NYT]

• One high-school friend said that in the past few months, Loughner, who sold clothes at Eddie Bauer, had become suicidal and grew increasingly introverted, believing his friends were plotting against him. [NYP]

• The children at Mesa Verde Elementary School, where 9-year-old Christina Green went to school before she was killed by Loughner, are having nightmares — “images of puppies suddenly dying, mothers crossing invisible lines and abruptly disappearing, or somebody coming to kidnap their friends in the middle of the day.” God. [NYT]

• Sigh. For reasons only they can understand, the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka has announced its intention to picket Green’s funeral on Saturday. Tucson resident Christin Gilmer is leading a group of over 40 people who will wear 8-by-10-foot angel wings outside the funeral to shield mourners from pickets. “We want to surround them, in a nonviolent way, to say that our community is united,” Gilmer said. [CNN]

• Congress is working on a security plan for its members in which Capitol Police “would formalize its relationship with local police and sheriffs’ departments around the United States and jointly develop more standardized plans to deal with varying threat levels for town meetings or other public events.” [NYT]

• Loughner was not registered to any political party, and in fact handwrote “independent” on two separate voter forms, county officials said Monday. [CNN]

• President Barack Obama canceled a dinner with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah in order to travel to Arizona on Wednesday to attend a memorial service and visit with victims’ families in Tucson. He has already spoken to many of the family members by phone. [CNN, NYP]

• Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and Rush Limbaugh are yelling at each other. [ABC News]

• Former congressman Patrick Kennedy made the connection between Sarah Palin’s crosshairs map and the shooting. [Politico]

Jared Loughner Appears in Court; Gabrielle Giffords Gives ‘Thumbs-Up‘ to Doctors [Updated]