Fort Hood suspect says he supports Taliban
Fort Hood, Texas • The Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 deadly Fort Hood shooting rampage told some potential jurors Wednesday that he supports the Taliban and a strict Islamic legal and religious code.
Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is serving as his own attorney in his court-martial, participated as nine of the remaining 14 Army officers in the group were questioned individually on the second day of jury selection. On Tuesday, six were dismissed from the first group of 20 potential jurors after being questioned by the judge and prosecutors, but not Hasan.
Hasan, 42, faces execution or life without parole if convicted in the rampage that left 13 dead and nearly three dozen wounded on the Texas Army post on Nov. 5, 2009.
In answering Hasan's questions, several potential jurors said they had negative views of Muslims, the Quran or Shariah, the Islamic law. But they said they could put aside those views and only consider evidence in the case.
The military judge, Col. Tara Osborn, told Hasan several times to rephrase his questions and avoid referring to himself as the shooter, saying he is acting as an attorney during jury selection and will be held to the same standards. She reminded him that he was not testifying.
Another colonel told a prosecutor he didn't understand questions about whether he had formed an opinion on whether Hasan is guilty.
"He sits here in a wheelchair because of wounds he sustained on that particular day," the colonel said. "In terms of 13 victims and who the shooter was, I have an opinion that Maj. Hasan was the individual who pulled the trigger."
A 13- to 16-member jury will be chosen for his court-martial. Death-penalty cases in the military require at least 12 jury members, more than in other cases.