Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidel Malik Hasan, who is defending himself against 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 charges of attempted premeditated murder, has now sat through 44 witnesses' testimony in the Fort Hood court martial trial.
Retired Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning, who dreaded facing Hasan in court, offered explicit testimony last week, describing in detail the events of the shooting. Specifically, Manning testified that Hasan fired "as fast as he [could]", which led to Manning's sustaining a bullet in his chest. Manning further testified that, feeling his lungs fill with blood, he feigned death to avoid more shots, eventually managing to flee the building with a total of six gunshot wounds. Manning explained to the military jury of 13 officers that some of those bullets still remain lodged in his thigh and back.
Another witness, Capt. Brady Mason, recalled exhibitions of shock and disbelief that he himself had been shot by Hasan. Staff Sgt. Joy Clark also testified that after checking for vital signs of dead soldiers lying near her, she considered "throwing a chair at the shooter" but ultimately refrained from doing so after witnessing "someone else do that and get shot."
Hasan has declined to cross-examine most of the witnesses, choosing instead to sit quietly and listen. Having elected to defend himself, shocking many in the process – Hasan has acted independently with the exception of his standby lawyers, who have accused him of plotting a defenseless strategy to guarantee conviction. Indeed, Hasan originally planned to argue the killings were in "defense of others" – particularly Taliban members fighting Americans in Afghanistan. However, presiding judge Col. Tara Osborn denied said defense, leaving Hasan in what appears to be an ill-fated position.
As prosecutors had planned to call as many as 270 witnesses, Osborn initially predicted Hasan's trial would last at least a month. In light of Hasan's disinterest in cross-examination thus far, however, the trial could very likely conclude much earlier.
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