Army shooting suspect still holding out for marytrdom
FORT HOOD, Texas — The Army psychiatrist on trial for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood told mental health experts shortly after the attack that he “would still be a martyr” if convicted and executed by the government, according to newly released documents.
The remarks by Maj. Nidal Hasan were published on Tuesday by The New York Times, as military lawyers ordered to help Hasan insist that he wants jurors to sentence him to death. Hasan is representing himself during the trial, which continued Tuesday at the Texas military base with FBI agents testifying about a gruesome, bullet-riddled crime scene.
Hasan told a panel of mental health experts that he wished he had been killed in the attack because it would have meant God had chosen him for martyrdom, according to documents given to the newspaper by Hasan's former lead attorney, John Galligan.
Hasan, an American-born Muslim, was left paralyzed from the waist down when Fort Hood police officers ended the rampage by shooting him in the back.
“I'm paraplegic and could be in jail for the rest of my life,” Hasan told the panel, according to the documents. “However, if I died by lethal injection, I would still be a martyr.”
The documents were part of a report that concluded Hasan was fit to stand trial. Galligan, who serves as Hasan's civil attorney after his client dismissed him from the criminal case two years ago, did not return phone messages from The Associated Press. Hasan, 42, has sat mostly silent during the trial, enabling prosecutors to zip through more than 60 witnesses in only four days. Those witnesses — many of them soldiers injured in the attack — described a bloody, chaotic scene and identified Hasan as the shooter.
But the pace slowed Tuesday as prosecutors shifted to forensic evidence, with FBI agents describing what they found at the medical building where the shootings occurred.