PHOENIX (Reuters) - Lawyers for the man accused of a deadly shooting spree last year that gravely wounded then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords lost their latest bid to halt forcible medication of their client by prison doctors seeking to restore his fitness for trial.
By a 2-1 vote, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a petition on Tuesday asking the court to reconsider its March 5 decision permitting staff at a federal prison hospital in Missouri to continue administering anti-psychotic drugs to Jared Loughner against his will.
The one-page order on Tuesday gave no reason for the panel's latest ruling.
Loughner, 23, was deemed incompetent to stand trial in May 2011 by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns, who has set a June 27 hearing to review the accused gunman's condition.
The college dropout is charged with 49 criminal offenses, including first-degree murder, stemming from the January 2011 shooting rampage outside a Tucson, Arizona, supermarket that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Giffords, an Arizona Democrat who was shot through the head, resigned her seat in Congress in January of this year to focus on her recovery, and she continues to undergo rehabilitation in Houston.
(Reporting and writing by David Schwartz; Editing by Steve Gorman, Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker)