Ft. Hood Shooting Suspect Gets Military Trial

Posted July 6th, 2011 at 1:00 pm (UTC-5)
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The commander of the Fort Hood military post says the U.S. Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people in a 2009 shooting at the base will be tried in a military court and face the death penalty.

Major Nidal Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the November 2009 shooting. U.S. officials have linked the 40-year-old Hasan to a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen.

It was not immediately clear when Hasan will be arraigned. He must plead not guilty based on the nature of the case, according to military law.

Hasan's lead attorney, John Galligan, had urged the commanding general not to seek the death penalty, saying such cases were costly, time-consuming and restrictive. In cases where death is not a punishment option for military jurors, soldiers convicted of capital murder are automatically sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

Galligan has declined to say whether he is considering an insanity defense for his client. Hasan was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by police on the day of the rampage and remains in jail.