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Hasan's lawyer expects death penalty case

Oct. 4, 2010 at 11:32 AM   |   Comments

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BELTON, Texas, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's lawyer says he expects the Army to seek the death penalty for the Fort Hood shootings.

Retired Army Col. John Galligan told the San Antonio Express-News he is trying to save his client's life.

The Army has said it has yet to decide on seeking capital punishment for Hasan, a psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people and wounding 32 on Nov. 5. But Galligan, a veteran military judge, sees plenty of signs to the contrary.

The Army is assigning veteran prosecutors to the case rather than rely on less experienced legal counsel at the post. And the jury box is being expanded from 10 seats to the 12 needed for a panel that could impose death.

Hasan, who is partially paralyzed from being shot during the attack, is in a medical ward in the Bell County Jail under 24-hour guard.

Galligan is likely to raise the "good soldier" defense, in part by introducing favorable officer evaluations. The defense also could contend Hasan had a mental breakdown. Conflicting evidence of the physician's performance before the shooting has been widely reported.

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