Posted by Edmond Geary | Posted in Attempted Murder, Murder, Violent crimes | Posted on 20-03-2011
The Army psychiatrist accused of gunning down fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, is facing the death penalty. Major Nidal Hasan now faces death in the court martial charging him with 13 counts of premeditated murder. He is also facing 32 counts of attempted murder. Colonel Morgan Lamb, Hasan’s brigade commander acting as the convening authority in the case, has just recommended the death penalty be sought for the alleged shootings in 2009. The presiding judge who presided over Hasan’s Article 32 hearing had also made that recommendation.
Hasan’s defense attorney was not surprised, he said, though he was disappointed by the decision to seek the death penalty. John Galligan said he knew the Army had made this decision long ago. The convening authority is supposed to make its own, independent decision in the matter. Galligan and his fellow defense team members met with the convening authority a month ago and urged him not to seek the death penalty because it would be less costly, less time-consuming and would allow the defendant to plead guilty without the death penalty.
Galligan declined to discuss whether he had discussed any plea bargains with prosecutors or whether he is contemplating an insanity defense on Hasan’s behalf. Col. Morgan also reviewed an Army mental health panel’s evaluation of Hasan’s mental condition before recommending to seek the death penalty. The evaluation described Hasan’s mental condition at the time of the Fort Hood shootings in 2009. It also gave an opinion whether Hasan is now competent to stand trial. Galligan would not discuss that evaluation, but he did say the report would not prevent the Army from proceeding with a court-martial. That suggests the report found Hasan sane at the time of the events in 2009 and is now competent to stand trial.