Before Rampage, Loughner Studied Assassinations


Before the Tucson shooting rampage, Jared Loughner surfed the Internet on his home computer in what investigators believe was preparation for his alleged assassination attempt, the Washington Post reports. His suspect's focus on Web sites covering lethal injection, solitary confinement, and political assassinations could have dramatic implications as prosecutors build a case against him on murder charges that could carry the death penalty. They hope to use the computer information, along with notes seized in Loughner's home, to show that his acts were premeditated and that he knew right from wrong, sources said.

The computer analysis was turned over to Loughner's attorney Judy Clarke, who has not indicated whether she intends to pursue an insanity defense. Police seized Loughner's computer when they searched his family home in Tucson on Jan. 8 after the shooting outside a Safeway that killed six people and injured 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). “The impression investigators have is that he was trying to educate himself on assassinations and also research the consequences,” said one source. Legal experts say evidence from the computer hard drives would pose a significant hurdle in pursuing an insanity defense.


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