A Judge Has Ruled That Nidal Hasan Cannot Plead Guilty To Charges Stemming From The 2009 Fort Hood Shooting
Army Major Nidal Hasan cannot plead guilty to the charges against him, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Presiding judge Col. Tara Osborn received a letter from Hasan expressing his willingness to plead guilty to the 45 charges he faces following the November 5, 2009 Fort Hood shooting. Osborn, however, ruled that any admission of guilt by the defendant is not permissible under military law when the death penalty is being sought.
A motion to change the location of Hasan’s court-martial was also denied. Osborn cites the length of time between the shooting and the trial date as one factor in the decision, along with the relatively isolated media coverage of the shooting. Jury selection is scheduled to begin May 29. Testimony will begin July 1.
Wednesday’s hearing focused primarily on the testimony of Evan Kohlmann, a government consultant on terrorism the prosecution plans to call as an expert witness. Kohlmann authored a report concluding that Hasan fits the profile of a home-grown terrorist. The defense is questioning Kohlmann’s methods for reaching such a conclusion, accusing Mr. Kohlmann of being biased. Osborn has chosen to reserve her ruling on Kohlmann’s validity as an expert witness for now.
Hasan’s next pretrial hearing is set for April 16. Hasan faces 13 capital charges of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.