TUCSON -- Jared L. Loughner was sentenced to multiple terms of life in prison Thursday at a court hearing punctuated by raw emotion as former Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark E. Kelly confronted the man who shot her in the head at close range during a rampage here last year that left six people dead and 12 others wounded.
As a packed courtroom fell silent, Mr. Kelly, with Ms. Giffords at his side, told Mr. Loughner, 24, that he had failed in his effort to create a world as dark as the one he inhabited.
"You may have put a bullet through her head, but you haven't put a dent on her spirit and her commitment to make the world a better place," said Mr. Kelly about Ms. Giffords, who was gravely wounded and whose arm was in a sling on Thursday.
Ms. Giffords, who resigned from Congress in January 2012, and who has difficulty speaking as a result of her injury, "struggles to walk, her right arm is paralyzed, she's partially blind," Mr. Kelly said.
Ms. Giffords did not speak at the hearing, at which victims described the impact of Mr. Loughner's January 2011 shooting spree, but looked directly at Mr. Loughner as her husband read from a statement.
"After today, after this moment, Gabby and I are done thinking about you," Mr. Kelly concluded. With that, he and Ms. Giffords walked away.
Mr. Loughner was sentenced to seven consectutive terms of life in prison, nearly three months to the day after pleading guilty to 19 criminal counts in federal court, including murder and the attempted assassination of Ms. Giffords, the target of the attack.
Mr. Loughner waived his right to address the court, and when asked by Larry A. Burns, the federal court judge overseeing the case to confirm that decision verbally, he responded, "That's true," as he slurred his words -- a hallmark of his speech patterns during recent court appearances.
One after another Thursday morning, Mr. Loughner's victims took to the dais, at times addressing Judge Burns, but usually speaking to Mr. Loughner, whom they turned to their right to look at.
Congressman Ron Barber, an aide to Ms. Giffords' at the time of the shooting who was struck by a bullet in the leg, told him, "There's no way to make sense of those senseless acts." He said he would never forget seeing one of his colleagues, Gabe Zimmerman, 30, die by his side. "Now you must pay the price. You must pay the price for the terror you caused."
Turning to Mr. Loughner's parents, he said, "Please know that I and my family hold no animosity toward you."
While Mr. Loughner watched the parade of victims stoically, his mother, Amy Loughner, sniffled loudly and convulsed as people described the horror unleashed by her son. Randy Loughner was also in the courtroom, the couple sitting on the opposite side of the room as Ms. Giffords and other victims.
Pamela Simon, another aide who was also injured, taught at the middle school Mr. Loughner attended. She said she remembered him as "a kid who loved music."
On Thursday, she told him, "You remind us that too often we either do not notice the signs of mental illness, or we just choose to look away."
Mavy Stoddard, who was shot three times, told Mr. Loughner she cradled her wounded husband, Dorwan, in her arms and whispered, "Breathe deeply, honey."
Ten minutes later, he was dead. "I wished the mental-health people could have known that you needed help," Ms. Stoddard said, "but that gave you no right to take what we had."
Mr. Loughner sat staring at each one of them, his head tilted to the left, his body barely moving.
Mr. Loughner, who has been held at a federal hospital in Missouri for more than a year undergoing psychiatric examinations, has been given a diagnosis of schizophrenia, but he was deemed competent in August to agree to the plea deal, under which he is not eligible for parole or to appeal his sentence.
On Jan. 8, 2011, Mr. Loughner arrived at a public event being hosted by Ms. Giffords, then a member of the United States House of Representatives, at a Tucson shopping center. He was armed with a loaded Glock 9-millimeter pistol and carrying 60 rounds of extra ammunition.
In less than 30 seconds, he fired 31 shots, killing six people and injuring 13 others. He stopped shooting only when he paused to reload. He was eventually tackled and restrained by onlookers. He has never explained what had compelled him.
The dead included John M. Roll, 63, a federal court judge and 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green.
Ms. Giffords was gravely wounded after being shot in the head.
On Thursday, Suzie Heilman, who brought Christina to the event with Ms. Giffords as a way for her to learn about democracy, told Mr. Loughner in a voice trembling with anger, "You turned a civics lesson into a nightmare."
Mr. Loughner, a community college student, had originally pleaded not guilty to 49 charges connected with the shooting spree. He had for years exhibited signs of mental illness, including yelling out in high school classes and complaining about voices in his head.
At a court hearing in May 2011, he interrupted the proceedings with an incoherent outburst and was removed from the courtroom. It was at that hearing that Judge Larry A. Burns, a federal distirct court judge, ruled Mr. Loughner incompetent to stand trial.
Mr. Loughner was initially being medicated by force, under orders of the Bureau of Prisons, but has been voluntarily taking medication since this summer.
Dr. Christina Pietz, a psychologist who has been treating Mr. Loughner, said that over time he had become cognizant of his actions.
Dr. Pietz testified at the August hearing that Mr. Loughner's feelings had evolved from regret for failing to kill Ms. Giffords, against whom he had harbored a secret grudge for several years, to contrition for wounding her and others and for taking people's lives.
"I especially cried for the child" and "yelled a lot because it hurt so bad," Mr. Loughner once told Dr. Pietz, she testified, reading from notes she had kept of their encounters.
Timothy Williams contributed reporting from New York.
Correction: November 8, 2012, Thursday
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article and headline misstated the number of life sentences received by Jared L. Loughner. It is seven, not six. The article also misspelled the given name of a woman shot by Mr. Loughner. It is Mavy Stoddard, not Mary.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.