Accused Ft. Hood shooter may have to shave

Oct. 19, 2012 at 3:28 PM
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BEAUMONT, Texas, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The Army officer accused in the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, may have to shave his beard for his upcoming court-martial, a Virginia appeals court ruled.

An Army appeals court ruled Thursday a judge can order Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan to appear clean shaven at his court-martial, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The 42-year-old Army psychiatrist is a U.S.-born Muslim who began growing a beard in jail after being arrested in the mass shooting. He has said he believes he is close to death and that shaving now would be a sin.

Military prosecutors say Hasan grew the beard to make it more difficult for witnesses to identify him at trial, as the suspect shaved during his time in the Army.

The court's decision came after victims of the attack released a video calling for the massacre to be deemed an act of terrorism.

"It's disgraceful that they don't want to recognize the soldiers for their sacrifice. I mean, they were fighting a domestic enemy, they were killed and wounded by a domestic enemy, somebody who was there that day to kill soldiers and prevent them from deploying," Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning, who was shot six times during the attack, says in the video. "If that's not an act of terrorism, I don't know what is."

If convicted for the Nov. 5, 2009, attack in which 13 people were killed and more than 20 people injured, Hasan faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

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