Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hasan Questions Potential Jurors, Expresses Frustration At Not Guilty Plea
Accused gunman Nidal Hasan was allowed to question potential jurors on Wednesday.
When questioning from the defendant and the prosecutorial team was over, four people were dismissed based on their responses. Hasan did not object to any panelists being admitted or excluded. Ten potential jurors remained after the session, and six more will be brought to resume the selection process Monday.
Hasan questioned panelists’ opinions on the Islamic faith, the Taliban and Sharia law. Hasan’s first question raised objections from the prosecution after he identified Little Rock shooter Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad as a brother and friend and asked a panelist if this would cause any negative bias toward him. The panelist answered “no”.
One panelist expressed her dislike of Sharia law, saying “It seems like something I would not want to live under, that it would pretty much suck to be in that society, especially as a woman.” Neither Hasan nor prosecutors objected to her being admitted to the panel.
Hasan has been allowed to question witnesses because he has chosen to act as his own counsel at trial. At yesterday’s session, Hasan expressed his frustration with Judge Colonel Tara Osborn, who entered a plea of “not guilty” on his behalf after rejecting his “defense of others” strategy. Hasan said yesterday, “I would like to state that I am the shooter on November 5, 2009. I do not deny that I am the shooter.” This was in response to Osborn’s repeatedly reminding Hasan to phrase his questions in hypothetical terms.
Testimony in Hasan’s trial begins Tuesday, August 6. He faces 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder, and could be sentenced to death or life without parole.
Note: New gate restrictions will be in place on Fort Hood for the duration of the Nidal Hasan court martial.
The inbound Mayborn Gate will close Monday through Friday at 7:30 A.M., and the outbound gate will close at 8 A.M.
The East Gate will close Monday through Friday at 7:30 A.M. for inbound and outbound traffic.
Both gates will re-open for outbound traffic no later than 5 P.M.