Fort Hood Murderer Denied Change of Venue, Escape from Death Penalty
U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan, the man who killed 13 people in 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas, is not getting his wish to change the venue of his trial away from the base. A military judge ruled Wednesday that the court-martial trial will be set for July at Fort Hood. Hasan could get the death penalty if he is convicted.
Judge Tara Osborn, a U.S. Army colonel, also ruled that the jury would come from Army members, not the Navy or Air Force members Hasan wanted. The reason it has taken so long to get the venue settled was that the military justice system was debating whether Hasan had to shave his beard off to abide by military rules. Osborn shelved that issue so get the trial moving.
The jury will be comprised of Army members from nearby Fort Sill in Oklahoma. Hasan’s counsel wanted to move the trial away from Fort Hood, claiming that because the shootings were reported so heavily in Army publications, having the trial on an Army base was not “fair.” His counsel also tried to deny the appearance of terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann, whose testimony is going to be used by prosecutors to show Hasan’s act was a terrorist attack. Lastly, Hasan’s lawyer’s wanted to have Hasan plead guilty if the court agreed to eschew the death penalty; Osborn said no.