Fort Hood gunman Nidal Hasan has death wish, attorney tells judge
Published August 07, 2013
The standby attorney for the Army psychiatrist accused in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting told a military judge Wednesday that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan appears intent on receiving the death penalty.
Lt. Col. Kris Poppe said during the second day of Hasan's trial that he's willing to step in and serve as Hasan's attorney. But if Hasan continues to work toward being executed, Poppe asked that his responsibilities as co-counsel be minimized.
"I object," Hasan said in response. "That's a twist of the facts."
Judge Col. Tara Osborn then cleared the courtroom and later said the trial would be in recess until Thursday so she can consider Poppe's motion.
Hasan, 42, who is acting as his own attorney, said during his opening statement on Tuesday that evidence will “clearly” show he was the shooter in the massacre at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, 2009.
The evidence will “only show one side,” Hasan said.
The American-born Muslim was paralyzed after being shot by officers responding to the attack. Hasan, who now uses a wheelchair, said he was a soldier who switched sides in what he described as a war between America and his Islamic faith.
A soldier who was shot seven times during the shooting rampage testified Tuesday that he played dead before realizing the gunman might notice he was sweating. Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford told jurors he panicked when he saw Hasan holding a weapon inside a building where soldiers were preparing to deploy in November 2009. Lunsford tried to appear dead after being shot, then later decided to flee because "dead men don't sweat,” he said.
Lunsford said soldiers were trying to push their way out of a double-door exit, but one door was locked shut, so it created a bottleneck.
Hasan, who wore green Army fatigues and a bushy beard, didn't cross-examine Lunsford. Earlier in the day, Hasan characterized himself as a "mujahedeen” and said the “dead bodies will show that war is an ugly thing.”
Hasan also cross-examined prosecution witnesses, including retired Lt. Col. Ben Kirk Phillips, his former boss. When pressed by the defendant, Phillips acknowledged that his officer evaluation report had graded Hasan as "outstanding."
Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. He faces the death penalty if convicted. No American soldier has been executed since 1961.
The trial is expected to take weeks and possibly months, as many of the more than 30 people wounded in the deadliest attack on a U.S. military installation could take the witness stand.