clear
Monday May 25th, 2015 3:30AM

Judge halts trial in Fort Hood shooting rampage

By Ken Stanford Reporter
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) -- The standby attorney for the soldier charged in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage accused Maj. Nidal Hasan on Wednesday of deliberately charting a course toward a conviction and death sentence, abruptly halting the trial after only one day.

Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, Hasan's lead court-appointed standby attorney, said he is willing to step in and be Hasan's defense lawyer. But he asked that his responsibilities as co-counsel be minimized if Hasan, who is representing himself at trial, continues to work toward being executed.

It is "clear his goal is to remove impediments or obstacles to the death penalty and is working toward a death penalty," Poppe told the judge overseeing the case at the Texas military base.

Hasan responded: "I object. That's a twist of the facts."

The judge, Col. Tara Osborn, then cleared the courtroom.

Hasan has chosen to act as his own attorney during the military trial at Fort Hood, though he has defense attorneys on standby if he needs them.

On Tuesday, he told jurors during a less than 2-minute opening statement that the evidence would "clearly show" he was the shooter, but that it would "only show one side." He also questioned only two of the first dozen witnesses, who included one soldier who was shot seven times during the November 2009 attack on the sprawling Army post.

Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. If convicted, he would face the death penalty.

Poppe said Hasan was acting as his own attorney in a way that, "we believe is repugnant to defense counsel and contrary to our professional obligations."

Hasan repeatedly asked the judge to allow him to explain why Poppe's claim was wrong, saying: "Your honor, Col. Poppe has made an assertion that is inaccurate. I'd like to clarify that."

Osborn paused for nearly half minute before asking that Hasan explain his argument in writing. He said he wouldn't do that.

Osborn then closed the courtroom to discuss the matter. No witnesses were called Wednesday.

Hasan, an American-born Muslim who was paralyzed after being shot by officers responding to the attack, said he was as a soldier who switched sides in what he described as a war between America and his Islamic faith. He then fell silent for most of the day.

Hasan wanted to plead guilty to murder and attempted murder, but military rules forbid guilty pleas in death penalty cases.

Hasan had also asked to argue that he carried out the shooting in "defense of others," namely members of the Taliban fighting in Afghanistan, but the judge denied that strategy. His defense strategy still remains unclear.

During Tuesday's testimony, he occasionally took notes on a legal pad. While two defense attorneys remained on stand-by, Hasan rarely turned to them for advice.

No American soldier has been executed since 1961, and military prosecutors showed that they would take no chance of fumbling details that could jeopardize any conviction down the line.

The long-delayed trial was years in the making after judges in the case had granted a series of delays. A fight over Hasan's beard, which violates military regulations, led to a stay shortly before his trial was expected to begin last year and eventual replacement of the judge.

The trial is playing out amid high security at Fort Hood, where armed guards stood in doorways and 15-foot stacks of shock-absorbing barriers obscured the view of the courthouse. Jurors were told to prepare for a trial that could take months, and Hasan, who is in a wheelchair, needs regular breaks.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Feds announce test sites for drone aircraft
The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.
2:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Congress letting 55 tax breaks expire at year end
In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty - once again - for millions of individuals and businesses.
2:21PM ( 1 year ago )
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
US rejects nuclear disarmament document over Israel concerns
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States on Friday blocked a global document aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states tried to "cynically manipulate" the process by...
9:33PM ( 2 days ago )
Obama again avoids calling 1915 Armenian killings 'genocide'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, prompting anger and disappointment from those who have been pushing him to ful...
1:00PM ( 1 month ago )
Ex-NFL star Hernandez convicted of murder, sentenced to life
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for a deadly late-night shooting, sealing the d...
8:54PM ( 1 month ago )
Clinton kicks off 2016 campaign online, heads next to Iowa
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped back into presidential politics on Sunday, making a much-awaited announcement she will again seek the White House with a promise to serve as the "champi...
7:56PM ( 1 month ago )
Hall, White, Jefferson schools recognized nationally for use of technology
Three school districts in northeast Georgia - Hall, White, and Jefferson - have received national recognition for their use use of innovative technologies. They earned top spots in the Center for Digital Education's and the National School Boards Association's 10th annual Digital School Districts Survey.
By Staff
1:00PM ( 1 month ago )