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Loughner Pleads Not Guilty In Tucson; Competency Hearing Set

Shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner is back in Tucson, where he went to federal court to face charges contained in a 49-count indictment that prosecutors released last week.

In court Wednesday afternoon, Loughner pleaded not guilty to dozens of charges, which include murder, attempted murder and using a gun in a crime of violence.

Update at 5:40 p.m. ET:

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns has ordered a May 25 hearing to determine Loughner's competency to stand trial. The judge said during Wednesday's hearing that he was concerned that Loughner did not understand the proceedings, according to the AP.

Our original post resumes:

The arraignment is likely to be Loughner's last before his trial begins, says NPR's Ted Robbins in a report for Newscast.

The charges stem from the shooting rampage that took place just over two months ago in a parking lot outside a Safeway grocery store in Tucson. The attack left six people dead and 13 others wounded — including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. A federal judge was among those killed.

At the arraignment, prosecutors say they'll also request that Loughner undergo a psychiatric evaluation. As previously reported, the charges include several that carry a potential death penalty sentence.

We'll have more updates as the hearing goes on.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.