Six Officers Dismissed As Jury Selection In Nidal Hasan Murder Trial Begins
Six potential jurors in the trial of accused Fort Hood gunman Nidal Hasan were dismissed Tuesday.
Potential jurors were read the names of those killed or injured in the 2009 attack shortly after proceedings began. One potential juror was dismissed after indicating that he knew one of the 13 people killed. Five others were dismissed based on answers given in Tuesday’s hearing and their responses on questionnaires turned in beforehand.
The jury in Hasan’s trial will be made up of officers of equal or higher rank. During Tuesday’s questioning, potential panel members were asked if they believed that the defendant’s choice of weapon and his stated motive – defending Taliban leaders in Afghanistan – could show premeditation. The entire group indicated yes. The group also indicated they had no moral opposition to imposing a death sentence in the case, but that they did not believe that execution was the only punishment fit for a premeditated murder conviction.
Hasan declined to ask potential jurors any questions Tuesday. The accused gunman, who is serving as his own defense attorney, remained silent during the two-hour proceeding and did not take notes or seek assistance from former defense attorneys on hand to help him. He has, however, reserved the right to question potential jurors individually.
Before proceedings began, Hasan requested that Judge Colonel Tara Osborn inform potential jurors that he was being forced to wear an Army uniform against his wishes.
"I can't take pride in wearing this uniform," he said. "It represents an enemy of Islam."
Hasan was wearing a camouflage uniform typically worn by troops in combat instead of the normal dress uniform one would wear in court. The uniform better suits his needs as a paraplegic, and Col. Osborn asked that potential panelists not let his appearance influence their answers in court. Hasan has stated that his motive in the mass shooting was to protect Islamic leaders in Afghanistan from American troops being deployed there.