Fort Hood hearing delayed over beard

June 9, 2012 at 3:17 PM
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FORT HOOD, Texas, June 9 (UPI) -- A judge delayed a military hearing for Maj. Nidal Hasan, accused in the Texas shooting rampage three years ago, calling his beard a "disruption" to the court.

U.S. Army officials said Hasan, accused of killing 13 people and wounding 32 others in the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, showed up for court Friday unshaven, Stars and Stripes reported.

Judge Col. Gregory Gross said Hasan's beard was "a disruption to the court."

Gross ordered the motions hearing delayed "until the near future," when Hasan meets Army grooming standards, or, the judge said, "a closed circuit feed can be set up for the accused to watch the hearings from outside the courtroom."

Defense lawyers said they'll seek a religious accommodation exemption to the grooming standards for Hasan, who is a Muslim.

Hasan's court-martial, now scheduled to start in August, has been delayed twice this year.

At Friday's hearing, the court was to rule on pre-trial matters, including whether the government should pay for an outside neurologist to be a witness for Hasan's defense.

Hasan, who faces 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder, could face the death penalty if convicted.

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