"Gabby would trade her own life to bring back any one of those you savagely murdered on that day,'' Kelly said. "Gabby works harder in one minute of an hour fighting to make each individual moment count for something than most of us work in an entire day.''
Kelly added: "Her life has been forever changed. Plans she had for our family and her career have been immeasurably altered. Every day is a continuous struggle to do those things she once was so good at.''
Giffords kissed Kelly when he was done. He grabbed her hand and helped her walk back to her seat.
Susan Hileman, who was shot three times while trying to save her 9-year-old neighbor, shook as she spoke.
"We've been told about your demons, about the illness that skewed your thinking,'' she said. "Your parents, your schools, your community, they all failed you. It's all true. It's not enough.''
Officials at Pima Community College had suspended Loughner over safety concerns after his classroom disruptions. They told him that if he wanted to return, he would have to get a mental health clearance. Loughner withdrew.
The court-appointed psychologist who treated Loughner has warned that although Loughner was competent to plead guilty, he remained severely mentally ill and his condition could deteriorate under the stress of a trial.
Authorities said they will return Loughner to the Missouri prison facility, but it's up to federal prison officials whether he will remain there.
Legal experts had predicted that the only viable defense for Loughner was an insanity defense, given the number of witnesses and video surveillance footage. Still, Loughner never mounted such a defense.
Burns said Loughner did not have an insanity case because the evidence indicated he was aware of his actions and knew they were wrong. In fact, the judge noted, an examination of Loughner's computer showed the 24-year-old had researched Giffords and the federal death penalty beforehand.
"It would not have washed,'' the judge said.
Loughner planned the attacks by getting a gun, high-capacity pistol magazine and ear plugs and lying in wait for Giffords at the grocery store, Burns said. Among those killed was another federal judge, John Roll.
Mavy Stoddard, who was shot three times and cradled her dying husband, 76-year-old Dorwin Stoddard, in her arms as he lay bleeding after shielding her from gunfire, was among those who spoke to Loughner.
"You took away my life, my love and my reason for living,'' Stoddard said.
"I am so lonesome, hate living without him,'' she said, her voice cracking. Staring down at Loughner, she said, "we will never let you win. You will not take our spirit.''