News / USA

Judge Orders Physical Exam for Accused Fort Hood Gunman

Undated file photo provided by the Bell County Sheriff's Department shows Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage.Undated file photo provided by the Bell County Sheriff's Department shows Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage.
x
Undated file photo provided by the Bell County Sheriff's Department shows Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage.
Undated file photo provided by the Bell County Sheriff's Department shows Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— A U.S. military court judge on Wednesday ordered a physical exam for accused Fort Hood gunman Major Nidal Hasan before she decides whether Hasan will be allowed to represent himself at his trial this summer.
 
During a 40-minute pre-trial hearing at Fort Hood, Col. Tara Osborn said that a mental health evaluation showed that Hasan was mentally capable of running his own defense, but she had doubts whether he was physically able to withstand the rigors of representing himself.
 
She set the next hearing for Monday to give doctors time to examine Hasan, issue a report, and be ready to testify. Osborn declined to rule on any other matters until the issue of his defense was resolved.
 
Hasan could face the death penalty on charges he killed 13 people in a 2009 shooting rampage if convicted of premeditated murder. Jury selection in his military trial was delayed until next week after he asked the judge to let him fire his lawyers. The trial is scheduled to start July 1.
 
Hasan arrived in court Wednesday looking pale and drawn, wearing camouflage military fatigues, an Army green stocking cap, and a full beard and mustache. He removed the cap before the court proceedings began, revealing a shaved head.
 
Hasan answered questions in a soft-spoken voice, occasionally consulting with his attorneys.
 
He did not say why he wanted to fire the legal team.
 
Hasan is accused of opening fire on a group of soldiers who were preparing to deploy to Iraq in November 2009 in the worst shooting rampage on a U.S. military post. In addition to the 13 people who died, 32 others were wounded. Two civilian Fort Hood police officers shot Hasan, leaving the Army psychiatrist paralyzed from the chest down.
 
Osborn said Wednesday that defending oneself is “much more taxing” than sitting there helping his defense attorneys, as it requires additional work outside the courtroom. Hasan's defense attorneys have said in previous hearings that he is only able to withstand about five hours of sitting in court per day.
 
The last time Hasan had a complete physical exam was in June 2012, Osborn said. An exam scheduled earlier in the month was delayed due to a lack of government funding for the doctor, Osborn said, offering no further explanation.
 
Hasan said he had no objection to a doctor at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center performing his exam but was adamant that it not be given by the head of the rehabilitation department, with whom he said he had a “previous experience” while he worked there.
 
He declined to elaborate, and Osborn did not ask for details.
 
Osborn told the defense team, led by Col. Kris Poppe, that they would remain Hasan's attorneys until she made her ruling.
 
“This is not familiar territory,” Poppe said, adding that his client clearly did not want them. “Obviously, it's something we'll have to tread carefully.”
 
Military law experts said allowing Hasan to represent himself could make his court martial more open to appeals and more painful for the witnesses or victims he questions.
 
“It is hard enough for the victim of an attempted murder or the family member of someone who has been murdered, to come into a courtroom and sit across the room from a man who they are convinced did this,” said Geoffrey Corn, a retired lieutenant colonel and veteran Army prosecutor.
 
Osborn has sought to get the trial on track after delays caused by a debate over whether Hasan, who is a Muslim, should be required to shave his beard to comply with military rules. Osborn set the issue aside and Hasan has continued to appear in court with a full beard.
 
Hasan has said little about what motivated the shootings, but an FBI-commissioned report in 2012 said he had exchanged emails with militant Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in the year before the attack, and witnesses said they heard him shout in Arabic “God is greatest” just before opening fire at Fort Hood.
 
Awlaki, a U.S. citizen born in New Mexico, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid