Published : Wednesday, 25 May 2011, 2:52 PM EDT
TUCSON, Ariz. - A US judge ruled Wednesday that Jared Lee Loughner, the man accused of shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 18 others in January, is not competent to stand trial, FOX News Channel reported.
The ruling came after two health professionals who evaluated Loughner's mental state determined he was not fit to stand trial.
Dr. Christina Pietz, a psychologist selected by the prosecution, found Loughner was mentally ill and schizophrenic, while Dr. Matthew Carroll, a psychiatrist appointed by US District Judge Larry Burns, said the accused gunman did not understand the gravity or consequences of the situation he is in.
As a result, Burns said Loughner does not have a rational understanding of the legal proceedings and cannot assist his lawyers, FOX reported.
The decision will likely postpone Loughner's trial by months or years until it is determined he is able to understand the charges against him and aid his lawyers in his own defense, legal experts told The Wall Street Journal.