Nidal Hasan To Jury: “I Am The Shooter”
During an opening statement on the first day of his trial, accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan told the jury that evidence presented will show that he is the gunman responsible for the 2009 attack that left 13 dead and over 30 wounded.
“Evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter,” he said before the 13 panel members set decide his fate. “And the dead bodies will show war is an ugly thing.”
“We Mujahedeen are imperfect soldiers trying to form a perfect religion,” he went on to say. “I apologize for any mistakes I made in this endeavor.
Hasan maintains that he carried out the November 5, 2009 attack in order to defend Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, but he cannot expressly say so in court after Judge Colonel Tara Osborn forbade his proposed “defense of others” strategy at a pre-trial hearing in June. Hasan did, however, hint at his motives in his opening statement.
“The evidence will also show I was on the wrong side, that I then switched sides,” he told panelists Tuesday.
Prosecutor Col. Steve Henricks did not dispute Hasan’s claim that he carried out the attack with the intention of waging jihad on Americans. Henricks described to the jury the events of that day, beginning with Hasan’s warning a civilian clerk at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center to hide so that he could target fellow soldiers. Hasan then allegedly cried out “Allahu akbar” and began firing. According to Henricks, Hasan was prepared to “kill as many soldiers as he could”.
The prosecution called eight witnesses Tuesday, including Retired Lt. Col. Ben Phillips – Hasan’s former supervisor at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center – and Pat Sonti, a man who knew Hasan from the Killeen Islamic Center and testified about Hasan’s strange behavior at a prayer meeting the morning before the attack.
Hasan’s trial is expected to last for months at an estimated cost of $5 million. The courthouse is surrounded by a fence of metal shipping containers stacked three-high, as well as sand-filled barriers. Hasan is flown via helicopter from the Bell County Jail. He is allowed a 15 minute break every 4 hours in order to stretch, as he was left partially paralyzed when he was shot during his attack.