Standby lawyers in Fort Hood court martial appeal order to remain

Aug. 9, 2013 at 3:47 PM
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FORT HOOD, Texas, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Lawyers serving as standby counsel for the U.S. Army psychiatrist accused of the Fort Hood massacre Friday appealed an order they stay in that role.

Earlier this week, the lawyers said Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is representing himself at his court martial at Fort Hood in Texas, appeared to be trying to get the death penalty. Col. Tara Osborn, the judge, refused Thursday to either bar Hasan from serving as his own lawyer or to excuse his three standby lawyers.

Hasan, who could face execution if he is convicted, admitted in his opening statement he was the gunman who killed 13 people and wounded many more on Nov. 5, 2009.

Osborn excused Maj. Christopher Martin and Maj. Joseph Marcee from remaining in the courtroom Friday, giving them time off to file the appeal, Stars and Stripes reported. Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, the third lawyer, stayed behind.

Prosecutors continued to put on witnesses Friday who had survived the shooting.

Sgt. 1st Class Paul Martin said he had been impatient with the long wait at the Fort Hood medical center that day. Martin, shot in the arm, said he thought he had been hit with a paintball until he saw his own blood.

Prosecutors put on 15 witnesses Thursday.

Sgt. 1st Class Maria Velez, who was working at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, described hearing Pfc. Francheska Velez scream, "Please don't, please don't -- My baby, my baby," the Killeen (Texas) Daily Herald reported. Velez, who was pregnant, was one of those who died.

Guerra said she had to order other medical staff to stop trying to aid those who were dead. She finally took a black magic marker and put a "D" on the foreheads of those beyond help.

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