US Army Major shooting suspect appears in court
Houston: US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan
charged with shooting down 13 people made his first
courtroom appearance in a wheelchair on Wednesday and won a four-month delay in his case that could lead to his court-martial.
Hasan paralysed after being shot by two police
officers got an adjournment in his case till October as his
attorneys sought more time to review documents they had
received from the FBI.
Hasan, who is a psychiatrist, faces 13 counts of
premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated
murder in the November 5, 2009, shooting rampage, at a Fort
Hood military centre.
He made his appearance in the courtroom in a
wheelchair and only spoke uttering only "yes sir" when asked a
question. Hasan was handcuffed and shackled in leg irons
before coming into the courtroom.
Hasan`s attorney John Galligan asked for a delay in
the proceedings so he would have more time to assemble a
defence team, review thousands of documents and obtain
classified evidence collected by military investigators.
Paralysed and suffering from chronic problems that
Galligan said include chills and sores, Hasan wrapped himself
in a blanket from the neck down as the hearing began.
Army Col James Pohl ruled in favour of the defence,
which said it had not received the documents it needed.
Witnesses will be called starting Oct 4.
"We got what we wanted," retired Army Col John P
Galligan, lead attorney for Hasan, said after the session.
Hasan spent five months in Brooke Army Medical Centre,
then was moved to Bell County Jail in Belton.
Galligan has objected to his client`s jailing, saying
he should be in a medical facility and isn`t a flight risk.
Galligan and his defence team won the delay after
contending they either hadn`t seen or had little opportunity
to review critical evidence.
Defence attorneys want to review the FBI ballistics
study, which is being done in Quantico, Va. They also want a
DNA analysis and a probe by Fort Hood`s Criminal Investigation
Division, which also haven`t been completed.
If convicted, Hasan could be sentenced to death. The
Army Major is also awaiting mental evaluation.
While today`s was the second for Hasan, it was first
time he appeared in Fort Hood courtroom. His initial hearing
was held in his hospital room at St Antonio`s Brooke Army
Medical Centre, two weeks after the shooting.
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