The confessed gunman in the January 2011 mass shooting here that left 6 dead and 13 wounded, incluiding then-Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was sentenced to seven life terms plus 140 years in prison without possibility of parole.

The sentence imposed on Jared Lee Loughner, presiding Judge Larry Burns said, has a "symbolic character," since it is intended to reflect the damage caused to all the victims of the massacre.

Loughner pleaded guilty in August in exchange for prosecutors' agreement not to seek the death penalty.

Each of the life sentences corresponds to one of the fatalities in the shooting as well as for the assassination attempt on Giffords, who was Loughner's target on Jan. 8, 2011.

Giffords, who was shot in the head and resigned her congressional seat last January to continue recovering from her injuries, attended federal court in Tucson on Thursday accompanied by her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, who, like the other victims, said a few words in court before Burns passed sentence.

The former congresswomen was shot once in the head and although her recovery has been called "miraculous" by her doctors, she is still continuing with her rehabilitation program in a Houston hospital.

Loughner showed up at a meet-and-greet session organized by Giffords' office outside a Safeway supermarket in Tucson with a semi-automatic pistol and three ammunition clips.

Diagnosed with schizophrenia in the wake of his arrest, Loughner was declared fit to stand trial after being forcibly medicated. EFE