Judge: Alleged Fort Hood shooter can represent himself

June 3, 2013 at 1:43 PM
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FORT HOOD, Texas, June 3 (UPI) -- Nidal Hasan, accused in the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, is competent to represent himself at his court-martial, a military judge ruled Monday.

Presiding judge Col. Tara Osborn ruled Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was mentally competent when he decided to fire his attorneys, the Killeen Daily Herald reported. His three military-appointed counsel will remain in an advisory role and could be called upon during the court-martial to resume representing Hasan.

Osborn issued her ruling after taking testimony from a Fort Sam Houston doctor who examined Hasan last week at Bell County Jail.

Hasan has many health issues from multiple gunshot wounds he sustained during the Nov. 5, 2009, mass shooting in which 13 people died and nearly three dozen others were wounded. He is paralyzed from the chest down and has limited use of his left hand, Maj. Prasad Lakshminarasimhiah told the court.

Lakshminarasimhiah said Hasan can remain seated upright for four-hour periods for up to 12 hours a day, if he is provided adequate breaks.

Osborn repeatedly alerted Hasan that taking on a court-martial would be far more stressful than assisting counsel, noting his physical limitations and his lack of any formal legal training, the Daily Herald said.

Jury selection is scheduled to start Wednesday.

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