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Hasan makes no closing statement in Fort Hood massacre court-martial

Aug. 22, 2013 at 2:12 PM   |   Comments

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FORT HOOD, Texas, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, declined to make a closing argument at his court-martial Thursday.

Hasan, who is representing himself, told the military judge "the defense chooses not to make a closing statement," the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported.

Col. Steve Henricks, one of the prosecutors, told the panel who will decide Hasan's fate the only real question is whether Hasan planned the killing. He argued Hasan spent months in preparation and selected the medical soldier readiness processing center at Fort Hood because he knew he would have a large group of unarmed potential victims there.

Henricks called the center "the perfect killing station."

Hasan Wednesday told the judge in the court-martial, Col. Tara Osborn, that he, like the prosecutors, did not want to add lesser charges of unpremeditated murder or voluntary manslaughter to her jury instructions. He said there was "adequate provocation" for the attack in which 13 people died and 32 others were wounded because the soldiers were leaving to participate in an "illegal war" in Afghanistan, CNN reported.

Hasan could be sentenced to death if he is convicted of premeditated murder. The U.S. military has not executed anyone in 50 years but there are currently five men on death row.

Hasan's decision not to put on a defense ended the testimony portion of the court-martial. Prosecution witnesses, primarily survivors, offered a horrendous portrayal of what happened inside the Fort Hood processing center during the attack.

Hasan, who represented himself but had stand-by attorneys, took responsibility for the rampage at the outset of the trial, telling the jury in his opening statement the evidence will show "I was the shooter."

Osborn barred Hasan from pleading guilty at the start of the court-martial. Under military law, defendants cannot plead guilty in capital punishment cases, CNN said.

Prosecutors entered more than 700 pieces of evidence into the case, The Killeen Daily Herald reported. In contrast, Hasan entered one document into evidence -- a page from a Nov. 2, 2009, officer evaluation report that praised his performance.

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