Hasan: ‘I would still be a martyr’ if executed
By NOMAAN MERCHANT and MIKE GRACZYK Associated Press August 13, 2013 3:56PM
File - In this Aug. 8, 2013 file courtroom sketch, Maj. Nidal Hasan, second from right, sits with his standby defense attorneys Maj. Joseph Marcee, left, and Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, second from left, as presiding judge Col. Tara Osborn looks on, during Hasan's trial, in Fort Hood, Texas. Testimony has been moving so quickly during the military trial of the soldier accused in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage that the judge decided to give jurors extra time on Monday in between witnesses to finish their notes.(AP Photo/Brigitte Woosley, File)
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — The Army psychiatrist on trial for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood told mental health experts 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 in 2010 were published by the New York Times as military attorneys ordered to help him during his trial, which continued Tuesday at the Texas military base, insist that he wants jurors to sentence him to death.
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 civilian lawyer.
Hasan, an American-born Muslim, was left paralyzed from the waist down after 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, part of a report that concluded Hasan was fit to stand trial, were given to the newspaper by John Galligan, who did not immediately return phone messages Tuesday from The Associated Press.
Hasan, 42, is acting as his own attorney but has sat mostly silent as witnesses described a bloody, chaotic scene and identified him as the shooter. That enabled prosecutors to zip through more than 60 witnesses in only four days.
But the pace slowed Tuesday as prosecutors shifted their focus to forensic evidence, with testimony revealing that FBI agents found so much evidence at the crime scene that they ran out of markers.
FBI Special Agent Susan Martin told jurors that she and other agents found hundreds of pieces of evidence, including 146 shell casings and six magazines, inside the medical building where the shootings took place.
In one area, Martin testified, “There were several bodies. ... There was medical equipment all over the floor. It was a pretty gruesome scene.”
She said agents eventually ran out of numeric markers and had to use sticky notes.
Jurors also were shown a video taken during the initial walkthrough of the building, which had been crowded with soldiers preparing to deploy, and some crime scene photos. The photos were not displayed for the entire courtroom, which included journalists and victims’ relatives in the gallery.
The judge, Col. Tara Osborn, also said she was not allowing prosecutors to show anyone the most graphic photos “that focus unnecessarily on the deceased.”
Hasan, once again, asked no questions and raised no objections Tuesday. He was able to see the photos and the video on a monitor at the defense counsel’s table, but he appeared to have no visible reaction.
The military attorneys who have been ordered to help Hasan insist that he is intentionally not mounting a defense to ensure himself a death sentence. The standby lawyers have said such a strategy is “repugnant,” and they unsuccessfully asked Osborn to either let them take over Hasan’s defense or minimize their advisory roles.
Hasan has called those accusations a “twist of the facts,” but he has allowed the attorneys to pursue an appeal of the judge’s refusal at the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.
The statements he made in 2010, a year after the attack, were contained in a 49-page report of a military panel known as a sanity board, according to the New York Times. That board concluded Hasan was fit to stand trial.
Galligan, Hasan’s civilian attorney who turned over the documents, said Army prosecutors were given a summary of the report but had not seen the newly released pages, according to the newspaper. Galligan has previously released other documents at Hasan’s request to Fox News.
Hasan told the panel he denied having remorse. He justified his actions by saying that the soldiers he killed were “going against the Islamic Empire,” according to the Times.
“I don’t think what I did was wrong because it was for the greater cause of helping my Muslim brothers,” Hasan told the panel.