Witness: Told to erase video of massacre

Oct. 17, 2010 at 2:32 PM

FORT HOOD, Texas, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Two former U.S. military officials said ordering a soldier to erase cellphone videos of the mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, could be a crime.

Pfc. Lance Aviles, who escaped the shooting at Fort Hood last year that left 13 dead and at least 32 injured, said during an evidentiary hearing Friday for the accused, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, that an officer and a non-commissioned officer ordered him to delete the video on the day of the shooting, the San Antonio Express-News.

"It could be obstruction of justice because it could be potentially destruction of important evidence," Washington attorney F. Whitten Peters told the newspaper. Peters was was the Pentagon's No. 2 lawyer from 1995 to 1997, then became the Air Force's top civilian leader.

Morris Davis, who served as the third chief prosecutor in the Guantanamo military commissions, said those involved in the video destruction could be held criminally liable, the report said.

Aviles didn't mention the videos when he met with Texas Rangers days after the Nov. 5 shooting, Hasan's lawyer, retired Army Col. John Galligan said, but did during a Dec. 9 interview with Fort Hood's Criminal Investigation Division.

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