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Accused Fort Hood shooter wants to represent himself

May 23, 2013 at 5:37 PM   |   Comments

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FORT HOOD, Texas, May 23 (UPI) -- U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, charged with gunning down 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, wants to act as his own lawyer, military officials said.

Fort Hood officials said Wednesday Hasan told a court he wants "to waive his right to counsel and proceed pro se," the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported. Col. Tara Osborn, a military judge, is expected to consider his request at a hearing next week.

Hasan's trial is scheduled to begin July 1. The selection of a panel, the military equivalent of a jury, to hear the case, was postponed to June 5 because of his request to act as his own lawyer.

Hasan, 42, born in the United States in a Palestinian immigrant family, joined the Army after high school and received his medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He was raised as a Muslim and relatives say he became more devout after his parents died.

Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was about to be deployed to Afghanistan when he allegedly opened fire in 2009, killing 13 people at Fort Hood and wounding many more.

Jeff Addicott, a former Army lawyer who teaches at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, said Hasan probably wants to represent himself to get his views across.

"He will use it as a platform for radical Islamic rhetoric," Addicott said. "He views the trial process as a way to capture media attention and to advance jihad."

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