Judge recommends trial in Fort Hood case

Nov. 18, 2010 at 9:19 PM
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KILLEEN, Texas, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- A military judge recommended Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan face the death penalty for his role in the Fort Hood, Texas, shooting rampage, officials said.

Col. James Pohl, who oversaw Hasan's military pretrial hearing, found probable cause for Hasan -- the sole suspect in the Nov. 5, 2009, shootings -- to go before a general court-martial on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder, Fort Hood officials said.

Pohl also recommended Hasan, 40, face a capital referral, meaning he would face a possible death sentence, the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported.

Hasan attorney John Galligan said he expected Pohl's decision.

"They are pushing to get him into a courtroom as fast as possible," the American-Statesman quoted him as saying. "They have already decided what they want to do."

The final decision on whether Hasan will stand trial rests with his commander, Col. Morgan Lamb, who is awaiting a military sanity board's report on Hasan's mental competency, said officials at Fort Hood, the world's most populous U.S. military installation.

If Lamb agrees with Pohl's recommendation, the case would go to a Fort Hood commander authorized to order Hasan to face a general court-martial before a military judge.

The shooting occurred less than a month before Hasan, a U.S.-born Muslim of Palestinian descent, would have deployed to Afghanistan. During the rampage, he was shot by Department of the Army Civilian Police officers and is now paralyzed from the chest down.

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