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News Scan

Loughner Still Not Competent to Stand Trial: Michael Kiefer of The Arizona Republic reports U.S. District Judge Larry Burns wrote in a court order Thursday that a psychologist says Jared Loughner is still not mentally competent to stand trial. Diagnosed as a schizophrenic, Loughner has been confined to the federal prison hospital in Missouri since March, where he will likely remain for four more months. Loughner's principal psychologist said she believes he has made progress and can eventually be restored to competence. Burns ordered a hearing take place Monday in San Diego to discuss the matter with the defense attorneys and federal prosecutors. Loughner, 23, is charged with 49 felonies stemming from the January 8, 2011 shooting rampage in Tuscon, where six people were killed and thirteen others wounded.

CA Supreme Court Overturns Death Sentence for Man Who Burned Woman Over $100: Maura Dolan of the Los Angeles Times reports the California Supreme Court Thursday voted unanimously to overturn the death sentence for Gary Galen Brents, ruling that Orange County Superior Court Judge John J. Ryan failed to properly instruct the jury. Brents was convicted of the 1995 murder of Kelly Gordon. Gordon had agreed to sell $100 worth of methamphetamine for Brents. When he went to collect and she didn't have the drugs or money, Brents tried to suffocate Gordon, and choked her. He then put her in the trunk of a car, drove to a remote location, poured gasoline on her and the outside of the car, and lit the gasoline on fire. Trapped in the trunk, Gordon burned to death. The Orange County district attorney's office is reviewing the ruling. The opinion is here.

30 Bales of Marijuana Found Floating in Pacific Ocean: Robert J. Lopez of the Los Angeles Times reports 30 bales of marijuana, estimated to be worth about $500,000 on the street, were found floating in the waters off Marina Del Rey, CA. The bales were spotted by a boater Wednesday and recovered by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department with the help of lifeguards. The bales were turned over to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency.

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